Messes love company: @georgetown.hotmess active again

February 26, 2024

Design by Deborah Han

Broken glass in laundry room dryers, undercooked food, and leaky ceilings are all common sights on Georgetown’s campus. Students can often be heard talking about rats around campus or mold in their dorm rooms. But if you’re looking for more mess, you can find it at @georgetown.hotmess on Instagram.

@Georgetown.hotmess was created in 2016 and consistently posted pictures and videos, sent in by students, of the worst messes and facilities issues on campus. In 2022 the account went quiet, and it was assumed its reign was officially over.

To the surprise of many, in Jan. 2024 @Georgetown.hotmess made a post stating “we’re back!” and asked students to “send pictures of your worst campus facilities moments.” The Voice was able to secure an interview with the account’s elusive manager to ask them for insight about what it’s like to run the page. 

“I am not the original creator of the account. I believe the page was created in 2016, so well before my time at Georgetown. I messaged the page randomly at the beginning of November, asking, ‘What can I do to bring this account back?” the account’s current manager wrote to the Voice in a direct message. 

They chose to remain anonymous in the event that the administration took issue with the content of the page. “The previous owner responded about three months later with just the login information. I tried it, was able to log into the page, and started posting again shortly after.” 

The student saw the Instagram account as a way for Georgetown students to come together and share their grossest experiences on campus. Over the years, it has reached thousands of people, at Georgetown and beyond. Since its revival, it has only grown: within the last 90 days, the account has reached 8,040 people and gained over 1,000 new followers. 

“People generally seem excited when they send in a submission,” the account’s current manager wrote. “I think having a place to share your frustrations and experiences with others who can relate puts a positive spin on it. Terrible moments with facilities feel less disheartening and more like a rite of passage of being a student here.” 

Despite wanting to highlight these issues on campus, @georgetown.hotmess carefully chooses which submissions to post in an effort to not place undue blame on facilities staff for the messes. 

“Sometimes, people fail to distinguish between genuine facility issues/hazards and student-made messes. If I receive submissions showing food spilled on the ground or trash lying around, I try not to post it. If messes are student-made, it feels wrong to point the finger at facilities when the janitorial staff is timely about cleaning it up,” the account’s current manager wrote. 

The countless number of horrible photos and videos of the school raises concerns for many wanting to attend Georgetown. Prospective students have also discussed @georgetown.hotmess on the Reddit page r/ApplyingToCollege. Over 1.1 million users visit the page to ask questions and receive advice about college applications, SAT, essays, and more. 

“I used to love scrolling through similar accounts during the post-app submission stress to tell myself I don’t even want to go to these places,” Reddit user u/reesespieces610 posted to the thread. “Fast forward to today, and I’m genuinely afraid of committing to Georgetown even though it’s my top choice because of all the stuff I’ve seen on that account.” 

The account’s manager emphasized that the page was created for current Georgetown students to share their own experiences, not for others to use the posts to make assumptions about the school.

“Hotmess’ isn’t meant for prospective students to worry about or for students from other universities to laugh at as their only impression of our school,” the account’s manager wrote. “I think the page should be for students who share in the collective experience of the campus’s shortcomings, but also have at least some underlying appreciation for the university and our being here.”

The account’s manager compared these feelings to their own when they had decided to attend Georgetown. They recounted how people around them worried about their decision to attend the school based on some of the posts made by the Instagram account in earlier years.

“I remember seeing this page when I was newly admitted to Georgetown; it was a serious deterrent to attending. I would tell people that I decided to enroll, and I was sometimes met with, ‘Haven’t you seen the hotmess page?’ In this way, I think the page can be bad,” the account’s current manager wrote.

Regardless of the facilities issues that were brought to their attention, the student still chose to attend the school.

“Nobody comes here because of the top-notch facilities, but because of the top-notch education. I was hopeful that Georgetown would afford me many opportunities, and I think it has for the most part. The aging buildings and crumbling infrastructure are just unfortunate drawbacks.” 

Scrolling through the Instagram account and seeing the same issues reappearing can make it seem as though the university isn’t doing anything to find long-term solutions to these problems. 

“I think, largely, students just want to feel like their safety and well-being are a priority. Seeing holes in the ceilings or dead rats lying about can feel like a slap in the face with tuition continually rising,” the account’s current manager wrote. “As long as the university is taking steps towards improving the campus experience for its students, I am willing to endure some of its faults” 

Frequent facilities issues seem to bring members of the Georgetown community together. While constant facilities issues may frustrate people, @georgetown.hotmess has created a virtual space for many to experience these emotions together. 

So the next time there is a puddle of water from a toilet or sink overflowing, a ceiling about to fall, or a dead rat lying outside your door, consider snapping a photo and sending it to @georgetown.hotmess on Instagram. 

“Misery loves company, and seeing a page displaying the source of your discontent can be cathartic.”

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