Jeff Wilson (professor)

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Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson, PhD.jpg
Residence Austin, Texas
Nationality American
Other names Professor Dumpster
Alma mater University of Canterbury (NZ)
Known for Environmental Health, Sustainability Education, Dumpster Diving
Awards Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award
Scientific career
Fields Environmental Science
Institutions Harvard, IBM, E&Y, Huston-Tillotson University, University of Texas at Brownsville

Jeff Wilson is an American academic[1] and entrepreneur.[2] The pseudonym Professor Dumpster is based upon his role as part of 'The Dumpster Project',[3] an educational and minimalist living experiment that transformed a trash dumpster into a fully sustainable home.[4] Wilson lived in the dumpster over the course of the yearlong project.[5][6]


Kasita Exterior

Wilson is the Co-Founder at the startup[7] company Kasita.[2][8] Kasita builds micro smart homes that are capable of stacking.[9][10][11][12][13][14] Kasita was named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies[15] and won a SXSW Interactive Innovation Award.[16] Wilson has referred to Kasita as a holistic integrated product, rather than a house.[17]

The Dumpster Project[edit]

Professor Dumpster

Wilson is the Chairman and Founder of the 501(c)3 non-profit 'The Dumpster Project',[18] a STEM educational experiment in which he moved into an empty dumpster and transformed it into a 33 square feet (3.1 m2) environmentally sustainable home.[19] The project has been featured in a variety of local and national news sources.[20][21][22][23][24][25] The project won an HBCU Ford Corporation community sustainability grant[26] and a $10,000 Home Depot 'Retool Your School' competition,[27] but a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign was cancelled a few days before the deadline when it did not reach its goal.[28] The project has received its share of criticism, as commenters have likened the endeavor to "poverty tourism" and noted the self-promotional nature of Wilson's publicity.[29] On August 4, 2014, after six months without electricity, the project moved into the second phase, aiming to create what Wilson referred to as the 'Ultimate Studio Apartment'.[30] Though Wilson moved out of the dumpster in February 2015 short of accomplishing the goal of building a fully functioning home, it remains on the college campus where Wilson worked and has become a rotating space for teachers and educators.[31][32] On the first night of the new home school program, Austin's Blackshear Elementary Principal Betty Jenkins overnighted in the dumpster.[6][33] Wilson claims that the dumpter experiment was the central inspiration for Wilson's creation of the startup company, Kasita.[34]

No Baggage Experiment[edit]

Wilson and Bensen in No Baggage

Together with freelance writer Clara Bensen, Wilson performed the 'travel experiment' No Baggage, in which they traveled for 21 days through eight countries with no change of clothes shortly after meeting on a dating website.[35][36][37] New Line Cinema has acquired the right to produce a feature film and hired Adam Brooks of Bridget Jones [38] to screen write the film based on a book[39][40] from Perseus Books entitled 'No Baggage' by Bensen.[41][42][43][44] American actress Shailene Woodley[45] has been slated to play Bensen in the film.[46]

99 Nights Couchsurfing Experiment[edit]

Subsequent to moving out of the dumpster, Wilson, launched a project entitled '99 Nights ATX' in which he aimed to spend 99 nights in 99 different homes across Austin, gaining an up-close and intimate understanding of how Austinites relate to their home spaces.[6][47] The project is in collaboration with writer Clara Bensen.[48]

Academic Work[edit]

Wilson was formerly dean of the University College and an associate professor at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas.[1] He did post-doctoral work at Harvard, holds a PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Canterbury[49] and is the recipient of a University of Texas Systems' Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award, the largest monetary teaching award in the United States.[50] Wilson has authored numerous publications in the environmental science field and has received funding from the National Science Foundation.[51]


  1. ^ a b Wilson, Jeff. "Jeff Wilson, Huston Tillotson". Huston Tillotson University. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Moving? You Can Take This Tiny, Cheap Smart Apartment With You Wherever You Go". Fast Company. Fast Company.
  3. ^ "The dumpster project". Retrieved 2014-07-29.
  4. ^ "Pimp my dumpster! Harvard-educated professor on his plan to transform 33sq ft garbage bin into his home for a year". The Daily Mail.
  5. ^ "Texas university professor moves into a DUMPSTER on school campus for a year to show students that they can live with less". The Daily Mail.
  6. ^ a b c "Professor Dumpster Moves Out ... And On". The Austin Chronicle.
  7. ^ Castillo, Michelle (2017-03-12). "Meet the start-up founder who lived in a dumpster to help fix the homeownership crisis". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  8. ^ "Former dumpster dweller launches affordable smart homes for urban millennials". Inhabitat.
  9. ^ "Could A Tiny Mobile Studio Solve Your Housing Crisis?". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  10. ^ "Could A Tiny Mobile Studio Solve Your Housing Crisis?". All Things Considered. National Public Radio.
  11. ^ "Professor Dumpster bringing tiny homes to Austin". ABC News. KVUE Austin.
  12. ^ "Kasita is a tiny house that comes connected right out of the box". Macworld. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  13. ^ Perhach, Paulette (2016-07-20). "Future House: 3-D Printed and Ready to Fly". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  14. ^ Taylor, Peter. "Meet Kasita: The Micro-Housing Start-Up That's About To Revolutionize Real Estate". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  15. ^ "The World's Most Innovative Companies by Sector: Architecture". Fast Company. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  16. ^ "Interactive Innovation Awards". South by Southwest 2016 Music, Film and Interactive Festivals - Austin Texas. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  17. ^ "SXSW 2017: Kasita Aims To Commodify The Smart Home Experience | IPG Media Lab". Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  18. ^ The Dumpster Project. "The Dumpster Project".
  19. ^ "Texas Professor to Make Dumpster His Home for a Year". ABC News.
  20. ^ "Living Simply in a Dumpster". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  21. ^ Huffington Post. "The Ultimate Tiny Home Is In A Dumpster". External link in |publisher= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)
  22. ^ Fast Co. ""Professor Dumpster" Is Moving Into A Garbage Can, And Bringing His Students".
  23. ^ "Professor will live in dumpster for 1 year". USA Today.
  24. ^ "Trash talking professor moves into a dumpster". HLN Headline News.
  25. ^ North, Anna (28 July 2014). "When it's cool to have nothing". New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  26. ^ "Ford HBCU Challenge". Black America Web.
  27. ^ Home Depot. "Retool Your School HBCU Challenge".
  28. ^ Wilson, Jeff (2014-06-30). "A Letter from Professor Dumpster to Supporters on the Kickstarter Cancellation". Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  29. ^
  30. ^ KVUE News. "New addition to dumpster home brings relief for the summer heat".
  31. ^ Fleur, Nicholas St (2016-02-05). "Learning to Live Small (in a Dumpster)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  32. ^ "Dumpster Project Home School". The Dumpster Project.
  33. ^ "Living in a Dumpster 1 Year Later". Time Warner Cable. 5 Feb 2015.
  34. ^ Castillo, Michelle (2017-03-12). "Meet the start-up founder who lived in a dumpster to help fix the homeownership crisis". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  35. ^ "Extreme dating: Jeff Wilson and Clara Benson describe how they got to know each other while on a European vacation right after they met online". ABC.
  36. ^ "Couple goes on trip just after weeks after meeting on OKCupid". Fox News.
  37. ^ "Daters speed up relationship with voyage, sans luggage". USA Today.
  38. ^ "New Line Ramping Up 'No Baggage,' Based on 'Craziest OkCupid Date Ever'". Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  39. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  40. ^ Winchester, Simon (2016-06-01). "Travel: Philip Marsden's 'Rising Ground' and More". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  41. ^ Winchester, Simon (2016-06-01). "Travel: Philip Marsden's 'Rising Ground' and More". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  42. ^ Bensen, Clara (2016-01-05). No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering. Running Press. ISBN 9780762457243.
  43. ^ "About Clara Bensen". Retrieved 2014-07-29.
  44. ^ "New Line Going on 'The Craziest OkCupid Date Ever' for Three Weeks".
  45. ^ "Shailene Woodley". Wikipedia. 2017-03-16.
  46. ^ Lee, Benjamin (2016-08-04). "Shailene Woodley to star in film about 'craziest OkCupid date ever'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  47. ^ "99NightsATX". 99 Nights ATX Website.
  48. ^ Clara, Bensen. "Clare Bensen website". Clara Bensen.
  49. ^ "PhD Research - The University of Canterbury". The University of Canterbury.
  50. ^ "Regents Outstanding Teaching Awards". The University of Texas System.
  51. ^ "Advancing Undergraduate to Geo-environmental Master's for Engaged Needs-based Talented Students (AUGMENTS) scholarships program". National Science Foundation.