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Every semester for the past two years, CU students have donned bandannas to set them apart from the normal human population.
Humans, with bandannas on their arms, and Zombies, with bandannas around their foreheads, go to war for a week for CU’s very own game of Humans vs. Zombies.
Humans vs. Zombies–or HvZ–was originally created by Brad Sappington and Chris Weed at Goucher College in 2005, but was not brought to CU until an attempt two years ago. The first game, which did not receive university approval, was organized by two unknown students through a Facebook group.
“They didn’t get in touch with CUPD or the administration,” said Michael Whitcomb, a 23-year-old senior and history major and also the HvZ president. “The first day of the game they vanished into the wind. No one knows who they were or anything.”
Whitcomb and other dedicated fans received university approval for the massive modified game of tag later that week, but Whitcomb dubbed that first game “slightly fail.” It wasn’t until the following semester, with approval in hand, that the original zombies successfully set out to infect humans and add to the zombie horde.
“I really liked being a zombie and scaring the bejeebies out of everyone,” said Rhiana Henry, 21-year-old geophysics major.
The goal of HvZ for humans is to survive the week without being tagged or “turned,” but staying human that long can be difficult for some.
“I was one of the kids running around dying the first day,” said Patrick Kenney, a 20-year-old environmental studies major.
Although he was tagged quickly that game, Kenney said the key to staying human is to be invisible to the zombies lurking around campus.
“The most effective strategy is to act completely innocuous,” he said. “Zombies will miss you if you blend in. If you play your cards right you’re able to walk straight through [campus].”
For others, the stress of being human can be distracting.
“I can’t focus in class as a human,” said Henry, who stayed human for three days this game. “I go down in a battle. No hugging zombies.”
For others, staying human is its own reward.
“I like the paranoia of always looking over your shoulder as opposed to the constant on your feet hunting,” Whitcomb said. “I know a lot of people who prefer zombie.”
The distinction between human and zombie is clearly defined by the bandanna placement, but HvZ players say the distinction between the groups is more than that.
“Being human, you don’t really meet a lot of people,” said Whitcomb. “[As a zombie] you get to know other zombies. As a human you’re running and hiding and trying to stay alive all by yourself.”
“Humans are a team,” Kenney said. “Zombies are family. Everyone has everyone’s number and Facebook.”
With humans that specialize in surviving, zombies that sprint and zombies that lurk, the game has a diverse group of people with all types of stride.
“There are super athletic zombies,” said Molly Galey, a 20-year-old Spanish major. “Then there are us who are very average girls. It’s a really close-knit community and we’re good at meeting people.”
“I like seeing people outside physics,” Henry said. “It’s the only thing I do that gets me to talk to people that aren’t physics people.”
HvZ has ended for this semester, but will be returning for fall 2011, offering students a distraction and a monster.
“There’s nothing to lose by playing,” Henry said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ana Faria at Ana.email@example.com