Two UCLA Students are the "Pick of the Litter" In Third Annual Apartments.com Messiest College Apartment Contest

Roommates clean up with $10,000 prize in nationwide search

CHICAGO, April 8, 2002 - Apartments.com and Contest sponsor RoommateAccess.com today awarded $10,000 to UCLA roommates Peter Debelak and Tim Sexauer for having the Messiest College Apartment in America. As part of Apartments.com national effort to clean up messy college students one apartment at a time, the untidy abode will also receive a thorough professional cleaning.

Online voters chose the 23-year old UCLA students over a Northwestern University sophomore who kept 900 sq. ft. of clutter in a 450 sq. ft. apartment and a University of Minnesota apartment with fruit flies so abundant they had to be sucked out of the air with a vacuum cleaner.

Among its eclectic and award-winning "assets," the UCLA studio apartment contained a road kill frog that had mummified next to one of their beds; a loft built specifically to house surplus ground-level mess; knee-high piles of food, literature, musical instruments and pasta that had turned to black dust. The duo, who are as diverse as their mess, also credit their living situation with strengthening their immune systems.

Both Debelak, a senior from Cleveland, and Sexauer, a straight-A graduate student from Los Angeles, study linguistics at UCLA, and claim that their dedication to studies, music, poetry, woodworking and art may be the source of the problem.

"There is a great deal of freedom to living in a mess," said Tim. "Sometimes my biggest inspiration comes from the chaos of this great big extension of our personalities."

"And it is a terribly exciting lifestyle," explains Peter. "You know how great it is when you find something you haven't seen in a while? Well, we experience that every day."

Online visitors to the Contest site had access to the highly visual features that tidy apartment renters enjoy when browsing Apartments.com, including multiple photos and a 360-degree virtual tour of the Finalists' apartments. Voters also enjoyed reading "mess defense" essays submitted by each Finalist describing why theirs was the messiest college apartment in the country.

Apartments.com hosts the annual Messiest College Apartment Contest to connect with the thousands of college students who appreciate the speed and detailed content of the Internet's most visual apartment resource. According to Nielsen//NetRatings research, Apartments.com is one of the top ten Internet destinations for 18-24 year-olds, a group likely to change their residence yearly and search for an apartment at the last minute.

"More than 95 percent of college students are connected to the Internet and this Contest helps Apartments.com begin a lifelong relationship with them," said Karrie Gottschild, the Contest director.