Despite all the jokes of some Gusties bearing resemblance to the walking dead, much part in thanks to our ever so benevolent professors and their late night reading assignments, many of you are no doubt familiar with the event known as Zombie Week.
Whereas there is an ‘infection’ rather than killing, Zombie Week is a classic game of assassins. You have a target, someone is targeting you, and your goal is to survive by evading your attacker while tracking your target down and hitting them with a seemingly innocent ping-pong ball.
This year, to ensure there are less arguments, both the infected and infector must submit an email report immediately afterward so there is a record of who is out and who’s hunting who at any given time. Participants started with finding their P.O. Box containing an envelope holding a picture of their target along with a single ping-pong ball. Prizes are given out to the last one standing, as well as categories such as who infected the most targets.
This is the third year Gustavus has done Zombie Week, and it’s already become somewhat of a tradition where people are skittish walking across campus or exiting the Caf. It can be tiring, looking over one’s shoulder every day for anyone eyeing them and reaching into their pocket for an instrument of white death. There have been chases from the Caf to wherever the hunted can hide, stakeouts by a target’s door and creepy Facebook stalking for more pictures to identify one’s prey so they have more to go by than the poor black and white photo given out in the beginning of Zombie Week.
It can be tiring, looking over one’s shoulder every day for anyone eyeing them and reaching into their pocket for an instrument of white death.
Many resort to the Gustavus website to find a target’s dorm and room number, and several have been so talented, or perhaps demented enough, to find the J-term their prey is taking. Several participants have experienced the unfortunate circumstance to have their target within their sights, close in for the ‘kill,’ only to feel the sting of extermination in the small of their back.
To maintain some sort of order in a free for all game of kill or be killed, several areas have been updated as out of bounds. You may not hit your target while they are in the Chapel, the sanctuary for anyone who can get there and then discreetly exit in one of four directions from the center of campus. Restrooms are off limits, as are the participants’ dorms unless they give you permission to come in. The Lund area is also off limits to prevent pandemonium amongst those working out, and you cannot hit a target while they are in class or speaking with a professor. Common courtesy should be considered common sense here, but the need presents itself for these rules to be briefed during the info-session on the eve of Zombie Week.
“That awkward moment when you realize you have no plans for where you are going in life, yet you know exactly what you are going to do in a zombie apocalypse.” -Anonymous
There is quite a thrill to it, knowing someone is out to get you, and knowing that while you may dodge a would be assassin once, they’ll make the attempt again if the opportunity presents itself, though it’s more difficult as you now know they’re after you. Or, perhaps, they won’t even hunt you the next day, for they might have gotten eliminated themself so you’re back at square one wondering who has you. You know your target, but do you seek help from others who could potentially help you get them, or keep the information to yourself so you’re not sold out? There are many variables, many considerations as you are participating, and in the end, it’s often up to luck more than personal skill in tracking someone down or evading the one hunting you.
All in all, Zombie Week presents a fun opportunity for students to test their ability to hunt someone down in a non-lethal manner, as well as test their ability to survive and escape from whoever is targeting them. With some luck, you might get to hunt down your own friend for a memorable laugh, or laugh at yourself if your termination is anticlimactic. Yet, it is ironically relieving to be infected as you don’t need to keep evading someone 24-7.
This event has become an amusing tradition for the campus, one where hilarity ensues from the many tales of chasing and being chased, and is even amusing for those not involved who witness attacks around campus. If you don’t become one of the living dead from the sleepless nights due to the anxiety of being hunted, then you got what you were supposed to out of Zombie Week; a fun occasion to make memories and test your survival abilities.