Denise Neil

April 3, 2011

Zombies will turn to busy bodies at WSU

Don't freak out if you happen to be on the Wichita State University campus next week and you notice panicked students engaged in desperate foot-pursuits

Don't freak out if you happen to be on the Wichita State University campus next week and you notice panicked students engaged in desperate foot-pursuits

No big deal. Just a zombie infestation.

At 8 a.m. Monday, members of WSU's Student Activities Council will launch a second round of an elaborate game of tag called "Humans vs. Zombies."

Around 50 students have signed up to participate in the game, which is designed as a fun way for students to get to know each other better.

Here's how it works:

On Monday, one participant in the game will randomly be assigned the role of zombie. That zombie will tie a bright yellow bandanna around his or her head.

Humans will be identified by the yellow bandannas tied around their arms. When the zombie tags a human, he recruits that human to the zombie ranks, and they team up to hunt and recruit more humans.

The zombies win if they've tagged every human by late Thursday night, when the game ends. If even one human is still un-tagged, the game goes to the humans.

The game has become trendy on college campuses across the country since it was invented about six years ago by some Maryland College students.

The gaming committee of WSU's Student Activity Council organized a game last semester, and it went over well, said Cindy Gilbert, a sophomore biology major and one of the game's organizers.

"It's growing in popularity," she said. "It's a fun way to get people to socialize and to get active."

The game has been controversial on some college campuses. Many groups require Nerf guns for tagging, and security personnel and faculty aren't too excited about students hovering in stairwells with guns, waiting to attack fellow students.

But WSU's organizers have taken steps to make the game safe and to address concerns raised by WSU police — mainly that students would chase each other into the streets and get flattened by a car.

To keep the game from turning into total pandemonium and upsetting non-playing students and faculty, the game organizers have established several rules.

Tagging can be done only outdoors, presumably to prevent a melee in the middle of economics class.

Tagging is allowed only outside of campus buildings, and participants don't use Nerf guns — just their hands. Participants also are encouraged not to run into streets. In fact, any tagging achieved in a street doesn't count.

Several other rules keep the game interesting.

A zombie who does not tag a human in a 24-hour period "starves to death" and is out of the game.

Humans can stun zombies for a few minutes by tossing a balled-up sock at them. That gives the human a chance to escape, assuming he or she saw the zombie coming.

Game organizers keep the humans from hiding underground for the duration of the game by issuing nightly challenges to get them out and about. They might lure them to a place to collect more balled up socks, for example.

The humans won the last game at WSU, but there were only two left, thanks to a particularly effective zombie ambush one day.

The game definitely attracts attention on campus, Gilbert said.

"A lot of people weren't fully aware of the game when it started happening last semester, so a lot of people at first were like, 'Why are these people chasing each other and wearing bandannas?' "

Like I said, just a zombie infestation. No big deal.

Related content