“Little House on Campus” or “House on Wheels” not only play upon the titles of popular television shows, but also identify with a growing global trend toward making do with less.
Pearson College in Metchosin welcomed its first “Tiny House” to campus on April 12, a 250-square-foot micro-house on wheels. The undersized abode will be the new home for former Pearson student Dani McArthur, and part of a Pearson College Tiny House initiative that evolved from a challenge from new president, Desiree McGraw.
She has asked alumni to dedicate time and talent to finding creative ways to make education a force by utilizing the college’s principles of uniting people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
“Living sustainably is a core value at Pearson and the Tiny House project is one more example of how we can contribute to the conversation about lessening our footprint,” McGraw said in a release.
“This is also an opportunity to celebrate an alumna who has gone out into the world to live the mission, and has returned to teach us how we can all do even more.”
McArthur, who graduated from Pearson in 1981, has spent the past 32 years working as an English as a Second Language teacher and trainer. After returning from volunteer work in Cambodia, she jumped at the opportunity to retire on campus in her tiny home in exchange for volunteering to assist Pearson students from around the world who are dealing with English as a language foreign to them. Pearson provides the space for her home, hookups, access to the cafeteria and facilities in exchange for a wealth of teaching experience.
The challenge of living in a small space not only helps limit consumption of scarce resources such as energy, it helps limit everyday consumption, McArthur explained. “In a tiny space if you get something new, you have to give something away. I think at the centre of it all is the deeper question of what we really need to be happy.”
The answer for McArthur has always been about connection and community, two resources she experienced as a student at Pearson and continues to enjoy there in abundance.
The Tiny House Project will also involve students in the installation of solar panels and systems to collect and recycle grey and rain water.
“Pearson was very welcoming to the idea,” McArthur noted. “The college has always been dedicated to recycling and composting, and it will be very rewarding to see what new ideas the students come up with.”
When asked if living in what most people would consider cramped quarters has been a challenge, Mcarthur said it’s been quite the opposite.
“Maybe it’s because I never really grew up in the sense that I’ve always been much more comfortable in small, cozy, warm spaces. I really enjoy the opportunity to live life on a smaller scale.”
Tiny Houses have been getting more media attention recently, with red tape issues frustrating owners of the homes in Terrace. Closer to home, the concept has been discussed as a possible solution to the homeless issues in Victoria.