Walking through Clifton Park Center may feel more like going to the zoo to see the chimpanzees as eight local college students compete for the title of radio station Fly 92's Last Student Standing.
The students will live in a makeshift dorm at the mall, enclosed in a storefront, where mall visitors can watch their every move.
People gathered, gawked and giggled Tuesday, July 22, as they watched the students throw around a beach ball in an attempt to save themselves from boredom.
The students have also kicked the boredom by playing Twister and building a card house.
I think it's cooler in the dorm room, said Taylor Legnard, 17, who watched the students from the window.
Last year, students spent five weeks on a bus to win a $10,000 tuition reimbursement. Legnard's cousin was one of the contestants and said the atmosphere on the bus was dark and dank compared to the stark, bright dorm room at Clifton Park Center.
"That's all they have to do is win," Legnard said. "They're having fun."
One of this year's contestants, "Joyridin'" Julie, as she is known, said in her Fly blog, "Personally I am having an amazing time already. I am so happy to be here and love all the support we are getting here from visitors in person here at the Clifton Park Center."
These ambitious students will compete in challenges every Wednesday morning in the hope of winning a $10,000 college scholarship, a 2008 Honda Civic from Mohawk Honda, a year of rent-free living at Colonie East, a Tag Heuer watch from Hannoush Jewelers and a year's supply of Vitamin Water.
Each week, students will be voted off until there is one student standing Friday, Aug. 22.
The roster includes four boys and four girls with different backgrounds, but similar goals.