By Jackie Kelly
Elm Staff Writer
Junior Brittani VanderWiele was the last survivor in the nonstop, 28 hour SEB edition of “Survivor.”
Washington College Survivor, a first annual SEB event, run by sophomore and SEB Student Director Alex Insel, was a huge success, just as the reality show has been during its 20 seasons, due to hours of planning and high student interest.
After completing the application process, 12 students were chosen and divided into two tribes, the Shawnee and the Powhaten. They were then faced with multiple challenges, ultimately working towards the grand prize of $1,000 dollars. Insel did a great job at making WC’s Survivor as close to the real “Survivor” as the budget would allow. It was not just the director who did well. The students did an amazing job of coming together and strategizing.
“It was quite entertaining watching it from the production end of things. I admired how even though the contestants were competing for $1,000, they were all respectful and demonstrated great values of sportsmanship,” said Insel.
After 28 hours of nonstop obstacles, the challenge was finally at an end with only one student left standing. VanderWiele went in to the challenge blindfolded yet excited, and came out a winner.
“I just couldn’t believe that I had this great opportunity. I knew that I could do well in the game if I stuck to my guns and was an honest and loyal competitor,” she said.
According to VanderWiele, the best part of the challenge was sitting around her tribe’s tent on the day of WC’s spring open house.
“I felt like I was in a zoo and people walked by wondering what kids were doing sitting in front of the dining hall in a tent with bread and peanut butter in a box,” said Vanderweile. The worst part of the competition was a tie between voting people off when it got close to the end and the sleeping outside.
“I hated seeing people go, and I wouldn’t have minded sleeping outside, but it was only 40 degrees and windy and all I had was my snuggie,” she said.
Her strategy was forming alliances as she had seen in the actual television show. Her $1,000 prize will go toward living off campus next year.
Although she is now $1,000 richer, VanderWiele did not participate for the money.
“I really wanted the experience and I have to say that after it is all said and done, this was the best experience that I have ever had at WC. The game challenged me mentally, physically, and emotionally and I had the most insane time playing this crazy game. I would really like to thank Alex especially for all of his hard work that he put into this event to make it run so smoothly. The WC film crew was also such a great help. All of the students acted as volunteers and they stayed up and suffered with us in the cold. This was an overall great event and I can’t wait for next year,” she said.
Sophomore competitor Christian Matthews said, “Even though I did not win, I had a great time and I could tell that the challenges took a lot of creativity and effort on Alex’s part.”
Insel did a great job with this event and he would love to have this event again next year. He says that there is always room for improvement.
Though host Richard Rinaldi did a wonderful job, next year, WC’s SEB would love to have a past contestant from the actual television show come to host the event, along with some other surprises.
Additionally, Insel said that he would like to see Survivor became more of an organization than an event. Ideally, people will apply for various positions, such as assistants, directors, and assistant directors. This type of production would run more smoothly if there were a few dedicated people who planned for it over a whole semester.
“But regardless,” Insel said, “Survivor should definitely be a tradition at Washington College, because it made memories that last a lifetime.”