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‘The Buried Life’ returns to bring ‘love’ to campus

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012

Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 09:04

ORACLE PHOTO/ JASMINE ABNEY

ORACLE PHOTO/ JASMINE ABNEY

Jonnie Penn, right, and the cast members from MTV's "The Buried Life" will return to USF to break a world record.

The cast of MTV’s “The Buried Life” hope to fall in love among the palm trees of the MLK Plaza when they make their return to campus Wednesday.

“The Buried Life” follows Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn and Jonnie Penn as they try to complete a list of lifetime goals, such as breaking a Guinness World Record. The cast will attempt to conquer that feat Wednesday at 11 a.m.

In an interview with The Oracle, Jonnie Penn said the cast will set a record for the world’s largest-ever “speed mixer,” which is like speed dating with “a couple tweaks,” with as many of USF Tampa’s 37,879 students as possible.

“We like doing crazy stuff, so when we found out no one had done this before and we could set this super-high record, we thought this made sense to do,” he said. “The point is to have the most people on a date at one point in the history of reality. So, if you’re single maybe you can come on down and maybe you won’t leave single. Maybe you’ll meet the love of your life.”

Penn said all of the cast members will be participating in the event and are each open to falling in love on campus. He said all four are simultaneously single for “one of the few times” they’ve been friends, and if they do fall in love, they’d be able to mark off two items at once.

“No. 78 on the list is fall in love, so we were hoping to cross that off,” he said. “We’ve been wanting to cross that one off for a long time. We thought maybe we’d be able to cross that off by doing it with you guys.”

There is also a chance that participating students could wind up on television, as the event will be taped for a future broadcast of the show, Penn said. The show had been put on hiatus by MTV in October, but he said they have since signed a new deal.

“The Buried Life” cast made their first visit to USF in February as a part of the University Lecture Series (ULS) and chose to break the world record at USF rather than other schools they’ve toured at. This was because “USF chose us,” Penn said, by posting 1,600 posts about what students would cross from their bucket lists to a Facebook contest and making a strong impression during the cast’s ULS visit.

“We wanted to work with whatever school is going to make it the rowdiest, and you guys seem to get rowdy, so there you go,” he said. “Everyone seems really nice and ready to party. I remember we said on stage, ‘You guys know we’re (possibly) going to come back?’ and there was some sort of electricity in the room where everyone was like, ‘F--- yeah, we’re doing this, this is happening.’”

Penn said Lingwood and a representative from Verizon Wireless Careers, which is sponsoring the event, are going to have a salsa dance-off championship.

“There’s going to be a lot of love, a lot of salsa music and a lot of booty-shaking,” he said.

The event will include food trucks, music and prizes, Penn said. The cast is also teaming with Jet-Puffed marshmallows to raise money for the Florida-based nonprofit organization To Write Love on Her Arms, which helps students overcome depression, anxiety, eating disorders and cutting.

USF Bookstore Manager Nick Fagnoni said in an email to The Oracle that the bookstore will be selling copies of The Buried Life’s book, “What Do You Want to Do Before you Die?” but are still finalizing details.

Penn said students should come out to the event whether they are straight, LGBT, in a relationship or otherwise.

“Bring your singleness,” he said. “This is a thing (where) if people want to come out and maybe make friends, they can do that too. We just want to get people face-to-face with each other.”

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