We are pleased to have hosted five intrepid educators in our Dumpster home over the spring and summer. Educators working with any grade level or type of educational organization are invited to stay in the …Read more →
MEET THE DUMPSTER PROJECT
What does home look like in a world of 10 billion people?
How do we equip current and future generations with the tools they need for sustainable living practices? The Dumpster Project is investigating how you can transform an empty box into a happy, healthy home — healthy for you and the environment. The project also hopes to spark interest in the way that fun and forward-thinking innovation can help address the challenges facing both current and future generations as our world becomes increasingly complex.
The Dumpster Project is many things: a re-imagining of home, a portable learning initiative, a sustainability conversation, a creative branch of a wider green campus initiatives at Huston-Tillotson University (HT), a historically black institution located in the heart of East Austin, and, most importantly, an innovative STEM education platform that uses the real-world challenge of transforming a trash dumpster into a tiny sustainable home to inspire learners of all ages.
More About The Dumpster
The Dumpster Project was excited to bring Dumpster Science experiences to Thinkery campers for a second summer. The Thinkery, Austin’s interactive children’s museum, runs a series of themed summer day camps for …Read more →
High school students in Skillpoint Alliance’s Velocity program applied problem-based learning to create Dumpster Project-inspired solutions. Skillpoint’s Velocity program provides hands-on training to STEM students who tackle real-world problems for their business …Read more →
Note from The Dumpster Project:
Betty Jenkins is the Principal of Blackshear Fine Arts Academy in Austin, TX. Born in Los Angeles and raised in both Chicago and El Paso, she has held both teaching and administrative …Read more →
One of the main goals of Phase II is establishing a information baseline. We need to collect data about every aspect of Dumpster life so we have a basis for comparison when we move to the …Read more →
Air conditioning in a 36 sq. ft. dumpster, part of a sustainability experiment on the Huston-Tillotson University campus, has arrived just in time for the August Texas heat.
Phase II of …Read more →
Come on in and make yourself comfortable in our fully furnished 33 square foot house. Did we mention it’s a dumpster? While the project could have been centered around a large cargo container or a tiny …Read more →
The Dumpster Project invites learners of all ages to rethink sustainability through the quirky task of turning a dumpster into a home. As we investigate the impacts of modern life, we will learn how a …Read more →
The Dumpster Project is a design experiment. We are using an open-ended, iterative process to convert the dumpster into a home. We’re not sure we will ever get to the ultimate dumpster, but we’re still working …Read more →
The Dumpster Team
Huston-Tillotson University (HT) is a four-year, private, historically black college or university (HBCU) that has educated students since 1875. HT serves a diverse student population (68% African-Americans, 28% Hispanic/Latinx), most of whom have high financial need (73% Pell-eligible). Many HT students will be the first in their families to graduate college. HT embodies the founding purposes of mother institutions Samuel Huston College and Tillotson College to provide higher education opportunities to the descendants of freed slaves. Today, HT continues to advance diversity, equity, and the legacy of our nation’s 100 HBCUs with a mission to “nurture a legacy of leadership and excellence in education, connecting knowledge, power, passion, and values.” http://htu.edu
Dr. Karen Magid
Dr. Karen Magid is Sustainability and STEM Director at HT. She holds a PhD in Materials Science from UC-Berkeley. After a postdoc at the ETH-Zürich, she volunteered with the Peace Corps in Mexico working on eco-technologies. She is a co-advisor to environmental student group Green is the New Black and co-founder of the Building Green Justice Forum at HT. She directs AusPrep, HT’s pre-engineering summer enrichment program for high-achieving middle and high school students from underrepresented groups. Highlights of her work as Sustainability Director include HT’s 240 kW rooftop solar array and campus projects funded by the Green Sports Alliance and Home Depot Retool Your School. She also serves on the Austin/Travis County Food Policy Board and the Earth Day Austin Board. InstaGram: @DoctoraBasura
Dr. Amanda Masino
Dr. Amanda Masino is Associate Professor of Biology at HT and Director of HT’s undergraduate research program, the STEM Research Scholars. She is co-Advisor to HT’s environmental student group Green is the New Black, co-founder/co-organizer of the Building Green Justice Forum, and Faculty Director of the St. David’s Foundation Scholars Program and HT’s Environmental Justice curriculum. She is Executive Director and co-founder of the nonprofit Austin Community Data Coalition, which bridges university research to community concerns, and serves on the board of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, the nation’s oldest green building nonprofit. She and her students research cardiovascular health disparities, the indoor microbiome (sometimes in the Dumpster home!), and affordable housing impacts. Insta: @thedirt_yprofessor
Green is the New Black
Green is the New Black (GITNB) is Huston-Tillotson University’s environmental student group. GITNB’s vision is to “foster new shades of green” on the HT campus and in the surrounding East Austin community to make environmentalism more just and more inclusive. GITNB projects include organic food gardens, both at HT and in partnership with Blackshear Elementary, campus recycling, and peer education. GITNB won first place in the Ford Corporation’s HBCU Community Challenge in 2013 with a plan to make HT the greenest HBCU in the country.
Melinda Chow is Executive Director of Austin Youth River Watch, where she brings her love of science and passion for working with youth to bring outdoors and environmental education to underserved groups. She has over 15 years of nonprofit experience, including with Girls Rock Austin, KUT, the South Memphis Alliance, and the National Multicultural Institute. Before AYR, Melinda managed the Hot Science Cool Talks series at the University of Texas Austin’s Environmental Science Institute, where she first connected with the Dumpster Project!
Dr. J.P. Maestre
JP Maestre, Ph.D. is a Research Associate in Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas Austin, where he researches environmental health using a combination of molecular genetic and engineering approaches. Much of his work focuses on understanding the indoor microbiome – the collection of microorganisms that live on our walls, our air vents, our faucets…well, you get the idea. He also co-developed the UTbiome project, which involves undergraduates in mapping the indoor and outdoor microbial diversity of the UT campus.
Dr. Leon Vanstone
Leon Vanstone, Ph.D is a Research Associate in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Texas Austin and Director of the Texas Rocket Engineering Lab, a collaborative effort between UT and Firefly Aerospace to train a student team to design and launch a liquid-fueled rocket that can reach a 100 km altitude. He won the Cheltenham Science Festival’s Fame Lab competition for science communication and continues to be active in science outreach spanning from Ted talks to Austin community events. He also enjoys writing about Elon Musk.
Dominique R. Vining is a sales, management, and development consultant who specializes in startups and new channel launches. She served as Director of Community Engagement at Huston-Tillotson University where she launched several partnerships, including one with the St. David’s Foundation. Before that, she was Founder and Executive Director of the Green Lots Project in Chicago, which converts empty city lots into edible classrooms to educate communities about growing food in sustainable ways. She is currently CEO of Water2Wine Winery in New Braunfels, TX.
Dr. Jeff Wilson
Dr. Jeff Wilson is the founder of the Dumpster Project and CEO of Kasita. He is author of dozens of scientific journal articles and is recipient of the University of Texas System’s highest teaching honor. He did postdoctoral work at Harvard and received his PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Canterbury. Jeff speaks to student groups as “Professor Dumpster” and shares his experience living in the Dumpster for the first year of the Project as its very first (and longest duration!) educator-in-residence. Instagram @ProfDumspter.