August 24, 2006

'Survivor'-type contest will crown Ultimate Saluki

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Who will be the Ultimate Saluki?

Southern Illinois University Carbondale will give 10 students the chance to vie for this coveted title during the Ultimate Saluki Challenge, a three-day contest modeled on the popular reality television show "Survivor." The winning contestant will receive various Saluki-themed prizes, including a $500 book scholarship donated by the SIU Alumni Association.

Organizers said they want to create a fun and exciting contest that cuts across the student body and various departments on campus.

"The popularity of the ‘Survivor' TV series appealed to us," said Sally Wright, assistant director of recreational sports at SIUC. "We wanted to offer a special event that would bring something to students in a collaborative way — something that was exciting and unique."

Organizers and sponsors include the Student Recreation Center, University Housing, the Student Center and Student Programming Council, Wright said. Applications and information packets are available now at the Student Recreation Center, Student Programming Council office on the third floor of the Student Center, and online at The application packet includes liability and medical releases.

Applications are due by 9:30 p.m. Sept. 29, at the Student Recreation Center information desk, or by 4:30 p.m. that day at the Student Programming Council office.

Wright said the committee will winnow the number of applications down to 10 contestants, aiming for a diverse, representative selection of students.

"We want to pick a good cross section of students as far as male-female, ethnicity, majors and grade levels," Wright said. "We're also looking for a good mix of personalities."

During the weekend of Friday, Oct. 20, contest organizers will divide the contestants into two, five-member "tribes" and outfit them with their meager provisions: three boxes of crackers, one five-gallon jug of water and a tent. Contestants may not bring extra supplies or electronic devices, Wright said.

The tribes must find ways to "survive" the weekend by organizing themselves into cooperative societies. They also will compete in various contests for rewards, just like those competing on the television show. Most of the contests will take place at the Student Recreation Center.

Every few hours, the contestants will convene a "Tribal Council," during which each person secretly votes to send another home. The person with the most votes goes home.

This continues until the final night, when just two contestants remain. At that point, the five most-recently eliminated contestants will come back to form the Final Tribal Council, which selects the Ultimate Saluki.

"It's going to be a much more condensed version of the game, but I think that intensity can still be there," she said. "We're hoping to see some personalities emerge and some fun interaction."

Wright said applicants should be adventurous, ambitious people who like a good challenge.

"They should be people who are feeling pretty physically fit, but it's not just a physical challenge," she said. "There are some mental challenges as well."

The "challenges," however, will remain under wraps until it is time for the contestants to tackle them.

Student Programming Council workers will shoot video throughout the contest. Wright said organizers hope to edit the footage for a television program on SPC-TV, which is shown on campus.

"The Final Tribal Council will be held at the Student Center, and we're planning a real party atmosphere," Wright said. Organizers also are trying to book a special guest to emcee the festivities, if they can raise enough money through various sponsorships to do so.

For more information, students should email questions to

Enhancing and supporting student activities that provide opportunities to build leadership and interpersonal skills is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

'Survivor'-type contest will crown Ultimate Saluki