The University of Maryland is host to one of the most intense and well organized competitions on any college campus across the nation.
The Terrapins have their own recreation of the everlasting show Survivor, but this is not just some backyard competition.
This is an eighty day event with a full cast, and episodes on Youtube filmed in 1080p.
After stumbling across this hidden gem, Fresh U reached out to the man behind it all, Austin Trupp.
Austin explained to Fresh U how this ambitious project got off the ground.
"I'm a huge Survivor fan and have been for a number of years. I've always wanted to play Survivor, and I also love organizing events. Pretty early on in my freshman year (fall 2011-spring 2012), I decided that having a game of Survivor on a college campus would be awesome and would work really well, since people essentially live together or at least within very close proximity of one another. I spent a good part of freshman year joking about it with friends, until ultimately we started talking about it as a real possibility. Around the end of the spring semester, I really talked people into it and got a cast of 21 people, and in the fall of 2012 we just went for it. I was the only person planning and running it without really any help."
Early on in Austin's sophomore year this project was off the ground.
The show started off with about twenty minute-long episodes, and is now regularly pulling episodes that regularly reach an hour, going above and beyond what is even on TV.
Keeping the challenges a secret could sometimes be a real challenge early on.
"My roommate was one of the first players, and I used to have to lock him out while I was making stuff for challenges."
From its modest beginnings, Survivor: Maryland has developed into a show that requires participants to apply.
"Early on it was a lot of me hand recruiting people who I thought would a) be super competitive and into the game and b) who would enjoy it a lot. I tried to mix up personality types as well. After the first season, word of mouth started to spread and people would reach out to me about playing. Once I got to my 4th season (Guts and Glory) and beyond, we put out formal applications and conducted interviews to make cuts. I still recruited people as well, for me it's all about finding competitive people who will be super invested. That's what makes it great and not just some joke."
This selectivity has really payed off. The season finale of their fourth season, Guts and Glory, currently sits at nearly 5,000 views on Youtube, and word of mouth is spreading far beyond the boundaries of UMD's campus.
"It has a pretty good online following from diehard Survivor fans who follow the episodes, and that's a lot of fun. One of the other really awesome things has been to get contacted by people from other universities who want to put this together on their campuses, and I'll give them as much advice as they need."
Austin doesn't want to keep this idea all to himself. In fact, he actively encourages people interested in starting their own on-campus Survivor to get in contact with him over Twitter (@austintaciouss).
Simultaneously, Survivor: Maryland is trying to build its presence within its community on one of the largest campuses in the country.
"I'm still not sure how many people know about it. It's managed to stay a niche thing, because it's a huge campus. Some people who hear about it think it's amazing (and maybe even apply). Some don't really get it. It's hard for people to understand how real and intense it is because it's such a unique endeavor."
With the amount of passion Austin and his friends have for this project, there is no doubt that given time, this won't just be a niche club on the UMD campus, but a staple of the campus and other schools across the country.
Applications for the show's fifth season (All Stars) are currently open to students currently enrolled at the University of Maryland.
Good luck to this season's cast mates...they'll need it.
Lead Image Credit: Survivor: Maryland on Facebook