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USF Grad Is 'Roommate Of the Year'

Dan Bakst, who graduated in December, won free rent for a year plus $10,000.

It can be hard sharing an apartment with people. Big offenders are those with poor cleaning habits, those who take things without asking and those who don’t pay on time.

But University of South Florida graduate Dan Bakst is a model roommate — the roommate of the year, in fact.

Bakst was given the coveted title by Apartments.com, which has held a Roommate of the Year contest the past four years. Bakst’s two-minute video, “The All-Star Roommate Musical,” beat out the other entrants in the national contest.

The prize for his efforts? One year of free rent, plus $10,000.

Bakst said he put together the video and submitted with buddy Dan Nguyen last February. The pair were not sure it was a winner but they liked the product they put together.

“We were both happy with it,” he said.

The Apartments.com Roommate of the Year contest seeks to find “the nation’s best roommate who leads by example with the important qualities that make up a good roommate,” according to a news release.

This was Bakst’s second year entering the competition.

“We are proud of all of our finalists and admire the hard work, creativity and enthusiasm these folks put into their video entries,” Tammy Kotula, public relations and promotions manager for Apartments.com. “Dan Bakst’s winning video is a standout. The sense of humor, production value and quality of the original song struck a chord during the public vote and with our judging panel.”

Bakst, who graduated in December with a degree in television production, said he does not yet have a full-time job.

“This helps so much,” he said of the free rent. 

Where did his inspiration come from?

“A lot of it came out of nowhere,” he said. “We said, ‘How much fun can we make this?’”

Bakst and Nguyen are no strangers to winning. The pair created a video jingle for Libby’s Fruits and Vegetables that secured them a $10,000 grand prize in 2011.

Does Bakst have the magic touch when it comes to competitions?

“I don’t have the magic touch but me and my friend have done a good deal of these videos,” he said.

The Apartments.com video will go on the resume.

“Yes, I think I could put it on a reel,” Bakst said.

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