||April 10, 2001--Chicago--Matt Robinson of Indiana University has an unlikely roommate: a mess worth $10,000. His disorderly apartment nabbed him the winnings in the second annual Apartments.com Messiest College Apartment Contest after site visitors deemed it the most outstanding example of "clutter, neglect and filth."
Pictures of Robinson's mess, a 360-degree virtual tour of his apartment and the essay defending his entry, titled "Matt's Dark Pit of Filth," wooed thousands of voters, though Robinson faced stiff competition from finalists at Harold Washington College in Chicago and the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point.
While most would call a scene of overflowing cups of cigarettes, trails of fast food wrappers and piles of festering mystery items a little piece of hell, Robinson calls it home. The expanding mass of garbage, laundry and "stuff" that spans his entire apartment even overtakes more than half of his bed. Though a cheesecake he bought in December sprouts mold in the refrigerator and food-encrusted dishes pile up on the counters, Robinson hasn't cleaned in the eight months he's lived off campus.
"I don't think I've done dishes since I moved in and have switched to paper plates and plastic utensils, which never seem to make it to the trash can," Robinson wrote in his entry essay. "I also eat a lot of take-out, the remains of which rot in the collection of paper bags that litter my floor."
"Our goal in the contest was to find the biggest college slob in America and help them bring the condition of their apartment back up to acceptable standards," said Karrie Gottschild, director of brand strategy and communications at Apartments.com and contest mess master. "Many college students are low on funds and too busy with studying, working and partying to clean, so we think of the contest as financial aid for slobs; $10,000 should be enough to make even Matt's unbelievable sty sparkle."
In addition to getting the place professionally cleaned, Robinson plans to use his $10,000 winnings to pay off his debts and buy new clothes to replace those that will be tossed with the rest of the mess. Despite the clothing casualties, Robinson is proud of his mess and considers it "a work of art in progress."
"I love my mess. My mess is an extension of myself. It's sort of like I scooped out my brain and just threw it all over the floor," muses Robinson.
He even wonders if his mess may hold a medical gift to humanity.
"They discovered penicillin because some guy left out a sandwich," said Robinson. "Can you imagine all the things that might be growing in here? There could be cures for every disease in the world - right here in my apartment."
As for cleaning, Robinson will do it, but he won't be pleased.
"It's my mess. I made it. I love it," Robinson said. "When I have to, I'll clean it, and I'll cry the whole time."
Visitors can take a 360-degree virtual tour of the winning apartment, view photos of Robinson's mess and read his essay by visiting http://www.apartments.com and clicking on the Apartments.com Messiest College Apartment Contest logo.
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