“Survivor” is a reality game show that places contestants in a secluded place with strangers, where they try to outdo themselves through mental and physical challenges.
If you ask fan and law student Michael W., the show’s concept has several striking similarities to college life.
Michael has always been a “Survivor” fan. He was inspired to start a club at MSU mimicking the show because as a transfer student he didn’t yet have connections on campus and he thought it might be a good way for students to overcome pandemic loneliness. .
“I think the college environment is very conducive to the survivor format,” Michael said. “You have a bunch of people all in the same space…For people who are out of state or live far away, campus is their island, right? They don’t have car with them. They can’t really move or get out of the town of East Lansing.”
The goal of a “Survivor” competition is to “outwit, outplay and survive”. Throughout the fall semester, members will complete a series of individual and group challenges – revealing the best strategists and the biggest threats. Entrants will try to avoid being rejected, hoping to be one of the last players standing, eligible for the grand prize.
After gauging interest, Michael and business junior Jenna Tryan began working on the “executive side” of the club – registering it as a legitimate student organization, finding challenge funds and recruiting. people who will take it seriously.
“We interview everyone, no matter how short their application,” Michael said. “It’s just so that we have a better idea, will they be suitable for this game? We want to find people who will prioritize ‘Survivor’, the same as their other commitments that they are in already involved.”
A typical “Survivor” set consists of around 16-20 people, but Michael and Tryan received over 60 applications in total, which means they had to make some cuts. It’s important to them that attendees take the time to meet the players in person, as it adds to the experience.
“That’s what makes it so raw and moving,” Michael said. “If someone is going to be caught off guard, betrayed, they’re going to feel it. It’s going to hurt because they would have taken time out of their day to meet these people, only to have them stab them in the back.”
Tryan said there are MSU students who haven’t had a chance to explore campus, either because of COVID restrictions or the fact that they’re entering their freshman year. It’s important to her that the game can help them immerse themselves in the MSU campus.
“Part of what we’ve been looking at, with the cast, and then as we start designing challenges and other aspects of gameplay, is figuring out how we can make it a campus-wide experience,” said Tryan said. “Making sure we explore different areas of campus with not just our challenges, but how everyone meets outside of challenges during the week.”
For Tryan, being part of the creation of “Survivor” MSU has been rewarding because she can share her knowledge and vision for her school.
“I really like the idea of bringing people together and letting us get the most out of our college experience,” Tryan said.
Students interested in being part of “Survivor” MSU can find more information here.
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