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Daniels' daughter bringing tiny homes to Purdue

For home football games in 2019, the Purdue Development Office will rent out tiny homes on campus.

Posted: Apr 30, 2019 6:50 AM
Updated: May 9, 2019 1:53 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Purdue has some "big" news about future housing options on its campus, and a person connected to the university is helping make it happen.

Beginning next fall, Purdue is inviting you to "Try it Tiny." For home football games in 2019, the Purdue Development Office will rent out tiny homes in a tailgate lot near Purdue West.

Try it Tiny, a website similar to an Airbnb for tiny houses and private land rentals, will provide the homes at Purdue. Founder Maggie Daniels rents the homes across the country.

"I really think you can live tiny anywhere," said Daniels. 

The company began in Daniels' own backyard in Zionsville. She traveled often for work and would rent her home online. However, the need for her to be there to take care of her livestock grew, so she bought a tiny home. Guests would stay in her foundational home, while she would stay in her tiny home out back. It didn't take long for Daniels to realize she was the one living in style.

"They would see the tiny house and ask to stay there instead," Daniels joked.

Tiny homes are less than 400 square feet, usually on wheels and have all the amenities of a normal house.

"I just describe them as effectively a pull behind camper that aesthetically looks like a home," Daniels said. "There's a full bathroom, there's heating and air conditioning. What I think is different is that it certainly is more of a unique experience and not something you can do every day. But also the proximity to the activities."

That's exactly what Purdue University was searching for. Beginning with the first football game in September, members of the Purdue President's Council will have the option to rent out the homes on a Friday and Saturday night. Vice President for Development Amy Noah says they're always searching for new ways to get people excited to return to campus.

"Tiny homes is this concept that has taken the world by storm," said Noah. "I think a lot of people are intrigued by it and say 'Well, I might be willing to give it a try for a day or two, I'm not sure I want to live like that.' It's a spoof off of tailgating, but it's essentially tailgating in a tiny home for a weekend."

"Now there is a sub-plot here," said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. "The company that's going to place them here involves someone I know quite well."

Maggie Daniels is Mitch Daniels daughter. He said this decision would have happened last year, but he made the university go through extra steps.

"People always get this wrong," said Mitch Daniels. "They think that if you are related or know somebody in a job like mine, it makes it easier. It makes it a lot harder. I made them go do a full RFP (Request For Proposal). Only this one company answered it. It went through a formal vote at the Research Foundation board and I left the room."

"I'm sure from the outside's perspective, it seems like maybe it was easier," said Maggie Daniels. "It was actually a lot harder. Just like any daughter would probably say, it's going to be exciting to be near him more, but other than that we are pretty much just focused on the business."

Try it Tiny will bring about 10 homes to a tailgate lot called 'Hammer Down Town." The university will provide golf cart service to Ross-Ade Stadium. 

On the development website, the tiny homes at Purdue were running near $450 a night. Purdue hopes the houses help alleviate the burden of the Union Club Hotel renovation closure beginning in June. 

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