March 11, 2015 | by Seth Dickerson
Students Fight Zombies On Campus

In the middle of the February,  the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was invaded by a HORDE OF ZOMBIES …

Well, sort of.

UL Lafayette’s Resident Housing Association held its campus-wide tag event Humans vs. Zombies for students and faculty to run around campus during the week, living out their zombie — or human — hunting fantasies.

Nerf gun-toting humans patrolled the campus, ever vigilant, while the zombies snuck around, waiting for the perfect chance to strike.

“One guy tried to shoot at me, but he missed,” said one zombie. “He tried to get another shot off, but I dove under it and got his leg.”

The goal for the zombies is simple: eat (tag) the humans. As for the humans, it’s survival.

“I like being a zombie better,” another one of the zombies said. “It’s a lot more running but way less paranoia.”

This is the fourth year for the HvZ game on campus, and it returned with a twist. This time, the humans will not only be fighting off hordes of zombies but also each other. This year’s humans were sectioned off into two groups: Civilization and Survivalists. Both factions fended off zombies and tried to collect resources that gave them an advantage over the opposing faction.

The zombies also fought for bonuses, including special abilities. One of the special abilities is being impervious until the zombie kills one human. A lot of the inspiration for zombies came from video games such as “Left 4 Dead,” movies like “28 Days Later” and television shows like “The Walking Dead.

Walking from class to class, students watched each others’ backs as they moved around campus.

On the first day, all players, except for a chosen few, were human, sporting orange bands on their arms. The first zombies, or “patient zeroes,” began hunting for their first victims, grabbing as many as they could to tip the odds in their favor early.

Clutching their Nerf blasters, most survivors moved in packs between classes, eyes peeled for any walkers trying to creep up on them. As night fell, the groups convened to take part in night missions guarding trees from zombie invaders, protecting their flags from zombies and other human factions and running across campus to an “escape helicopter.”

“My favorite moment was going on a mission to help save a fellow admin from the bookstore only for us both to get tagged on the way back,” Residence Hall Association President Valerie Benson said. “The zombie who got us was our friend. She walked up to us and put her hands on our shoulders.”

Game administrators and moderators help keep it fair.

Keeping track of the action, zombies and humans could use the website hvzsource.com to find out who got bit, and who is still alive.

In the end, the zombies overpowered and infected the last of the survivors, but everyone said it was a fun game.

“(We) feel like this was our best game of Humans vs. Zombies yet,” Benson said.

And she isn’t the only one who thinks so.

“I like getting out and meeting new people,” a zombie said. “It’s like a big game of tag on campus for a week.”

At the end of the week, HvZ admins sent out a survey to players to see how this year’s game was received.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the survey we sent out,” she said. “Many players said they really enjoyed the game. Even veteran players said the game was better than they had expected.”

Here’s a video from last year’s battle on campus:

Seth Dickerson is editor-in-chief at The Vermilion and a senior in UL Lafayette J-school. His hobbies include writing, playing video games and working on this dang website. Most importantly, he's just a fun guy who likes to have fun.

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