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Board Approves Phase One of Tiny House Project at Westminster College

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Posted on Thursday, February 4, 2016

“An administrative assistant’s dream, a faculty member’s undying passion, and strong faculty and staff support have brought us to this point,” said Dr. Timothy Cuff, professor of history and chair of the division of social sciences and humanities, referring to Westminster College’s newly board-approved Tiny House Project.

"We would like to capture the fascination that our neighbors and larger community have with the tiny house movement and turn that into an educational experience," said Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster College professor and program coordinator and chair for the environmental programs.

Tiny Houses, which have piqued social and environmental interest across the globe, are loosely categorized as homes that are between 100 and 400 square feet. These houses require less energy and economic consumption, and support the ideas of simplification and sustainability. 

This educational movement will allow Westminster College to develop a unique living and learning experience that integrates concepts of sustainability, simple living, and environmental studies into students’ coursework and lifestyles. 

In the exploratory phase, a team of students will help design and plan the building of the first house.

“Ideally, we will construct the tiny house through a community build, where students, faculty, staff, community members, and alumni are able to support the building of the house through physical participation in the build, donations, or other contributions,” said Boylan. “Pending success and support of phase one, we will plan for two or three more houses.”

Location and design of the tiny house, zoning ordinances, building codes, and residence life rules and regulations are being considered as part of the current exploratory phase.

“Student learning objectives associated with tiny living will be meaningfully integrated into tiny house linked coursework,” said Boylan. “This novel educational model which incorporates tiny living into the student’s academic experience will position Westminster College as an innovator in sustainability education.”

For more information about the tiny house initiative at Westminster College, contact Rick Sherlock, senior director of marketing and communications, at (724) 946-7191 or email