Top College Slob Wins $12,000 in the Messiest College Apartment Contest

Student from Ohio Northern University Captures Most Votes in Nationwide Contest

CHICAGOMay 8, 2000—Mounds of rotting food. Haphazard piles of fast food containers, crushed cans, shredded paper, soiled clothes and cigarette butts. Torn bags bulging with trash. Matted hair, crusty scum, unidentifiable goo. And an overpowering stench to turn the strongest of stomachs.

A scene from the local garbage dump?

No. It's John Anderson's apartment, which recently won the Messiest College Apartment Contest.

Anderson, a 21-year-old junior majoring in biology at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, was awarded a prize worth $12,000 for garnering the most votes and beating out two other finalists in the contest, who were vying for the ignominious distinction of having the "messiest college apartment" in the U.S.

"The mess in John's apartment is absolutely mind-boggling. It defies description, and needs to be seen-and smelled-to be believed," said Christian Hicks, director of the Messiest College Apartment Contest. "Based on the photos that John sent us, we knew to expect a large mess, but nothing could have prepared us for what we found-this absolutely has to be messiest college apartment in the country."

Anderson agreed, saying that he entered the contest because he had previously visited many college apartments and thought that his mess was bigger than any other he had seen.

Despite living in the middle of such a mess, Anderson expressed some pride in his apartment. When asked to describe his place, Anderson chose three words: "Filthy and disgusting and home."

In addition to $10,000 in prize money, which Anderson says he will use to find a nicer apartment, he received $2,000 in credit to spend on, a sister site of He has already earmarked a new computer to purchase on with his winnings.

In the essay he submitted along with his photos, Anderson wrote, "[My] place smells worse than a bar. I still haven't figured out what is rotting on my table, but it is growing."

He also claimed that his one-bedroom apartment has become such mess because at least three or four people stay over every night. "Everyone thinks they can throw trash everywhere," he wrote in his contest essay. "I am the only one who ever cleans up the place . so I decided to let it go until someone else cleans up, which doesn't happen."

Ironically, Anderson says he is certified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to handle and remove toxic waste, but claims he doesn't consider his messy apartment to be a health hazard, as it hasn't yet caused him any problems. He also noted that he has not seen any roaches or rats in his apartment.

Anderson was up against some stiff competition for the title of top college slob. received entries from all over the United States, including finalists from the University of Maryland and Elgin Community College, located near Chicago.

The finalist from the University of Maryland held a birthday party for her two-year-old carton of milk, while the two finalists from Elgin Community College share their cramped apartment with a pet rat. awarded $1,000 to each of the other finalists in the contest. " launched the search for the messiest college apartment in the country because we wanted to recognize students who apparently devote more time to their homework than housework," said Hicks. "We also hope that John and the two other finalists use their prizes, at least partially, to clean up their messes."

Visitors can take a virtual tour of the winning apartment, as well as view photos of the finalists' messes, by visiting and clicking on the Messiest College Apartment Contest logo.

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