“Professor Dumpster” – on a mission to show Austin how to live happily with less

By Angelica Erazo, Communications Intern

One thing I’ve learned during my summer internship is GSD&M and Austin have a lot in common. Taco fanaticism, for one. But more importantly, a sense of family that reminds me of the way the students at Huston-Tillotson are rallying around our (somewhat smelly) hero, Professor Dumpster. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me back up.

One day last year, I was sitting in a meeting on the Huston-Tillotson campus with Professor Jeff Wilson when he blurted out, “hey what if I told you guys I want to live in a dumpster?”

So now he does. And at the June 27 Creative Mornings session, he told Austin why.Jeff Wilson, AKA Professor Dumpster, has turned a 33 square-foot dumpster in to a sustainable house and interactive teaching lab. He eats, sleeps, and endures Austin summer heatwaves with no a/c – all in the name of equipping current and future generations with the tools they need for sustainable living practices.

I’m part of a student organization, Green is the New Black, that promotes the Dumpster Project. We kicked things off by targeting East Austin, the second most gentrified zip code in the U.S. The project quickly gained popularity; it’s a perfect fit with “Keep Austin Weird,” and the timing is right – Austin is an emerging hub for green technology and an epicenter for sustainability initiatives in the U.S..

A half dozen students, myself included, have volunteered as ‘tributes’ and joined the dumpster family, even sleeping in the dumpster when the weather is bad, but folks who want to learn more about the project or sustainability don’t have to get dirty to do it. As a result of the Dumpster Project, Huston-Tillotson has added an Environmental Science major and in Spring 2015 they will be holding an HBCU Summit. And anyone can take small steps to conserve resources and/or donate to the cause.

If you are ever interested in an MTV “Cribs”-style tour of the dumpster or want to know more, visit our website or follow Professor Dumpster on Twitter or Instagram.

One of GSD&M’s core values is community – we’re all in this together. To us, that means taking care of each other, our clients and our hometown, Austin. This post is part of a series about causes that are close to our agency’s and our employees’ hearts. 

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