Zombies out for brains and fun at UAF

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Reporter April 15, 2014

Zombies Geological Engineering student Nicolas Wells and Sociology student Bradley Gammel stand with Human Petroleum Engineering student Matthew Timmerman in the Wood Center. April 13, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

Zombies Geological Engineering student Nicolas Wells and Sociology student Bradley Gammel stand with Human Petroleum Engineering student Matthew Timmerman in the Wood Center. April 13, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

Campus is awash with neon-bandana-clad students carting nerf guns and looking shiftily around corners. It’s Humans vs. Zombie season once again. The role-playing game started at Goucher College in 2005, and has since spread to over 650 colleges across the nation, according to the official Humans vs. Zombies website. Biology student Chris Clement first took notice of the game when students at the University of Alaska Southeast brought it to Alaska. Clement decided to start the game at UAF, and pulled together a dedicated group to bring it to life last spring. “It took a lot of effort,” Clement said. He and a group of students met every week for two months prior to the inaugural game of Humans vs. Zombies to make their dreams a reality. To play, every student wears a bandana on either their arm, to indicate they are a human, or their head, to indicate they are a zombie. The game starts with one zombie, who must “turn” the humans into zombies by touching them. After tagging a human, the zombie collects their player ID card and reports the tag on the official Humans vs. Zombies website, which keeps an updated record of humans and zombies at different universities. Sophomore Computer Engineering student Arsh Chauhan was the original zombie last year, and is working with the game as a moderator this year. Being the original zombie was a huge responsibility, Chauhan said. “The success of the whole game depends on you.” Humans can defend themselves against the hoards of zombies by either stunning them with a nerf dart or a balled

A group of humans in the Moore-Bartlett-Skarland lobby get ready to leave the protection their dorms provide. April 13, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

A group of humans in the Moore-Bartlett-Skarland lobby get ready to leave the protection their dorms provide. April 13, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

up sock. Hitting the zombie with those items will stun them for 15 minutes, giving the humans time to get away. Zombies need to be proactive about getting humans however. If they don’t “feed” for 48 hours, they die. There are safe zones on campus to prevent havoc. Humans and zombies have to refrain from battling each other in classes, the library, the SRC, the dorms and bathrooms. The game needs dedicated moderators who make sure players are following the rules and help design “missions” for players. Junior English student Tiana Elkins was a moderator last year, and is helping as one again this year. Elkins helped design some of the missions, which are basically special operations humans and zombies can participate in with a more specific goal. There are 10 missions this year, which are completely optional, but players can participate to win prizes and awards. Last year, Elkins was part of an escort mission, where humans had to escort her from Reichardt to Duckering and back without getting turned.

Civil Engineering student Emma Frankson and Mechanical Engineering student Joe Goulet defend their lives as humans with nerf guns and balled up socks. April 13, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

Civil Engineering student Emma Frankson and Mechanical Engineering student Joe Goulet defend their lives as humans with nerf guns and balled up socks. April 13, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

“Being able to see all the plans made so quickly, it was great,” Elkins said. The game lasts about a week, and ends with a final showdown between humans and zombies. Zombies win when all the human players have been turned, and humans win by surviving long enough to starve all the zombies. Humans vs. Zombies received overwhelmingly positive feedback last year, Elkins said. Students enjoyed meeting new people, spending time outside and an excuse to shoot their friends with nerf guns, according to Clement. “In my opinion, it’s kind of boring at UAF,” Clement said. “And this makes it fun.”

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