Brightly colored bandannas, Nerf gun attacks and lots of running—Blitz Week filled OBU’s campus with adrenaline rushes this year thanks to the return of the annual Humans vs. Zombies game.
Last year, the event was canceled due to Covid-19.
As part of Blitz Week 2021, this year’s event was dedicated to raising money and collecting diapers and wipes for Legacy Parenting Center, a local nonprofit which, according to their website, “serves families in Pottawatomie County and surrounding cities providing free parent education and resources.”
The Humans vs Zombies game, alone, raised approximately $330 dollars, through registration fees.
The game itself is fairly simple.
“Humans vs Zombies is basically a large game of Nerf tag,” Blitz Week co-chair and senior camp administration major Brooke Mitchell said. “So, you have two sides: you have humans and zombies. Everybody but one or two people starts out as a human.”
When a human is tagged by a zombie, they become a zombie, and the zombies’ goal is to tag as many people as possible. The humans’ goal is to survive the week while remaining on the human team.
Then final Humans vs. Zombies showdown took place on the OBU Green Campus, and students gathered at 8:45 p.m., Friday, April 16.
“My favorite part of humans versus zombies is the camaraderie it created among students,” junior business administration in management major Katelyn Onkst said. “The zombies are teasing their friends all week about tagging them and the humans are working together like a well-oiled machine to stay alive.”
While the game is fun, playing it on class days can pose real challenges.
“The biggest challenge in humans versus zombies is figuring out how to get place to place,” Onkst said. “For me, I arranged rides to and from classes that I knew zombies would be waiting outside after. I also switched up my usual walking routes so people that know me well could not find me.”
The games’ popularity on campus extends beyond just the students.
“It contributes to a fun community relationship between students (and professors!),” associate professor of music theory Dr. Peter Purin said.
Faculty members can participate as well, and some of them seem to make popular targets for Zombie attacks.
“The first year I played I won, and it was hard earned!” Purin said. “There was no final showdown, but I had a mini showdown with zombies one night after a recital at Raley Chapel. I had to trick them by setting off my car alarm, and sneaking around an unguarded exit, then taking a couple out before getting safely to my car.”
This year, the Zombies teamed up during the final showdown in an effort to take out a group of surviving humans who were hiding near a staircase, Mitchell said
“We stormed this staircase, and sadly we didn’t get them, they stayed, but it was still fun to just, I don’t know, you’re just like climbing the staircase trying to find the best strategy of how to tag Emerson because everyone wants Dr. Emerson,” Mitchell said.
Winning in the game requires a creativity and quick thinking.
“This year my friend Jenny Dickerson and I got creative with our hiding spot. We arrived at the Green Campus early to hang up fake ‘no trespassing’ signs around a fenced in heating unit,” Onkst said.
“When the game started we went inside the fence, had another human lock us in, and covered ourselves up under a dark sheet to wait it out. After an hour and a half of hiding we were tagged out at second and third place.”
Successful strategies, like Onkst’s, for surviving as a human in the game takes a lot of patience to execute.
“My advice to any new players is not to force things,” she said. “If there’s twenty zombies outside a building be willing to wait them out; if you can’t safely get out of a car go drive somewhere else and try again later.”
Seeking a professors advice about winning strategy?
“Don’t trust anyone,” Purin said.
But the despite the competition, the event boils down to a bonding experience
“The biggest blessings from participating in humans versus zombies are the memories gained from the experience,” Onkst said. “The week is my favorite of the whole school year because it is filled with nonstop fun with friends.”