Ohio State students who are fans of the CBS reality show “Survivor” will be able to tune in to a campus version of the show next semester.
“Survivor: Time and Change” kicks off on Jan. 15 and will feature 16 student contestants. Episodes will air on YouTube as the show progresses.
Greg Friedberg, a third-year in neuroscience and president of the student organization with the same name as the show, said he and his planning team are currently looking for competitive contestants who will be committed to their concept.
“The goal of this is to get people excited about ‘Survivor,’” Friedberg said. “I want these people to be best friends, I want them to be best friends who vote each other out, but I want them to be best friends.”
The deadline for applications is Friday, after which the planning committee will screen contestants and will then conduct interviews to choose the cast.
A large part of the original “Survivor” is the grueling living conditions contestants must face, but in the group’s edition, students will simply compete in weekly challenges while living in their typical conditions. Aaron Shifrin, a fourth-year in anthropology and film studies and media director for the organization, said the social and strategic aspect of the original game will remain the same.
“We want to integrate the social aspect of the game into college life, and on a college campus there is a very social atmosphere,” Shifrin said. “Logistically it would be hard to separate the tribes outside of events but we don’t really want to do that.”
Together with their planning committee, Shifrin and Friedberg spent much of the summer solidifying challenges and working to become an official student organization.
“I want to have it be as authentic and immersive as possible,” Shifrin said.
Another notable part of the original show is the $1 million prize awarded to the winner. “Survivor: Time and Change” will not be giving away a prize on that scale, but Friedberg said the game itself is more important than the reward to most applicants.
“Monetary donation-wise, we haven’t gained as much momentum as we may have wanted to, which is OK,” he said. “A lot of people who have applied so far are not in it for the money.”
Yoga Six, a sponsor of “Survivor: Time and Change,” has offered a month membership as a prize to the winner, and a free class to every contestant on the show.
Shifrin and Friedberg said much of their inspiration was from University of Maryland graduate Austin Trupp, who ran a popular college campus version of “Survivor” during his time there.
“Having Survivor Maryland makes everything really so easy,” Friedberg said. “There are a lot of fan-made Survivors out there, but Survivor Maryland is commonly regarded as one of the best because of how well (Trupp) did it.”
Trupp ran five seasons of the show at the University of Maryland before graduating in 2015, and his concept has been adapted at several universities around the country.
Although they drew much of their inspiration from Trupp’s concept, Shifrin said the committee is getting inspiration for aspects of its show from OSU itself.
“There are a couple of challenge aspects that may touch on some things that have to do with the culture here at Ohio State,” Shifrin said. “But we’re also getting our ideas from a lot of different places and it’s going to make for a really nice fun slate of events.”
Before working together on “Survivor: Time and Change,” Shifrin and Friedberg originally pursued working on the project individually.
Shifrin ran his own season with just friends and acquaintances last spring, hoping one day to do a campus version of “Survivor” on a larger scale. Simultaneously, Friedberg was looking into creating a “Survivor” fan club when he discovered Trupp’s show and decided he wanted to make an OSU version of the show instead.
When a mutual acquaintance heard about both of their ideas, Friedberg and Shifrin were able to meet up and begin working together on “Survivor: Time and Change.”
Even though Shifrin was already working on his own version of the show and had a trial season under his belt, he said he was excited to get on board with Friedberg’s committee.
“I love collaborating and so I didn’t really see him as like a threat or competition or anything like that,” Shifrin said. “I saw him as a collaborator right away and it was immediately something that I wanted to do.”
Applications are available via the organization’s Facebook page.