NIU needs more events like Zombies vs. Humans

By Nathan Fulkerson

It might benefit the NIU campus to be overrun by zombies more often. Well, maybe only games with zombies.

Two weeks ago, 135 NIU students took part in a game of Humans vs. Zombies, a college game of “moderated tag,” according to the official website. Players were an unmistakable sight throughout the course of the game, identified by Nerf swords and bandanas, the only necessary tools in order to play.

With 135 players, Humans vs. Zombies can boast a more active membership than many student organizations. The potential for making friends and having a reason to spend time wandering campus for reasons other than going to class are also obvious benefits of such a game.

As an off-campus student, class and campus groups are the glue between myself and the NIU community. Campus games could open up more incentive to visit campus outside of class for students living in apartments or other off-campus locations.

Having watched the game progress through the week, I found myself having fun just waiting and watching on campus to see clashes between the humans and zombies. Actual participation in the game can only make it that much better.

Maybe zombies aren’t for everyone, in which case I say create a campus game of your own. I think that, given a little bit of creativity, more student groups could follow in the footsteps of Humans vs. Zombies to create interesting and fun college games. Mass appeal and relatively limited time commitment are not features unique to the game, just distinct advantages which may boost participation.

If students can take a classic game of cops and robbers or tag and turn it into a campus-wide game about zombies, or look at the world of Harry Potter and decide Quidditch is feasible without the flying broomsticks, then finding sources of inspiration for games can’t be too difficult. Intramural baseketball, anyone?

Also, games like Humans vs. Zombies don’t only benefit current students; they benefit the university as well. It seems only natural that potential students want to see an active campus when they visit for tours. The hustle and bustle of students on their way to class provides some of that, but there’s something more engaging about watching your peers frantically avoiding a horde of “zombies.”

I’m not going to say that students are going to enroll at NIU just to participate in fighting back the zombie horde. However, the light-heartedness involved in the game creates a much more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for students old and new. Often, the outlandishness of a game like Humans vs. Zombies stirs up enough curiosity to provoke others to find out more about it, opening up new social opportunities and possible friendships for everyone.

Whether it’s Quidditch or a plague of zombies, we can, and should, tap into the spontaneity that is characteristic of college students to make the campus a more lively and inviting place.