The week of a zombie apocalypse

Tasha Hall, Campus Life Reporter

The epic battle between zombies and humans took place on Whitman’s campus during the week of Nov. 7. Over the past 10 years, Humans vs. Zombies is an event that has been carried out at many colleges nationwide. At Whitman, the apocalypse hadn’t taken hold since 2018. 

Sophomore Alistair Gannholm was scrolling through Facebook and found the Humans vs. Zombies event, forgotten since the pandemic.

“I saw that there was still a Facebook page open for it, but it had been inactive, and I thought, ‘That would be pretty cool. Why don’t I try to get that started?’” Gannholm said.

Gannholm and two others figured out how to restart this event on Whitman’s campus. After figuring out their budget and getting funding, they got prepared to create a zombie apocalypse that started on Sunday, Nov. 6 at midnight. Humans wore red bandanas on their arms, while zombies wore them on their foreheads. Although a simple concept, lack of forward thinking came with big challenges and consequences. Participation declined over the week due to the history of the red bandana color. 

Junior Lauren O’Rourke took part in the Humans vs. Zombies event and was turned into a zombie on the second day. O’Rourke discussed the controversy behind the red bandanas.

Illustration by M Hu.

“From what I understand, there is a gang called the Bloods. The Bloods mark themselves by wearing red bandanas. In those kinds of environments, from what I heard, wearing a red bandana could get you shot,” O’Rourke said. 

“There are people on campus that grew up in that environment, so seeing people wear red bandanas on their head kind of evoked all of that … It wasn’t great because even if they knew it was [well] intentioned, a first impulse on seeing that is still fear and anxiety.” 

Gannholm and the moderators are hoping to solve this problem by making the bandanas orange for the next zombie apocalypse event during the spring semester.

Another problem was the lack of returned Nerf guns used during the Humans vs. Zombies event, but the moderators aren’t as concerned about that issue; people had to give their student ID number as they signed up, and that number was assigned to a Nerf gun. 

Senior Jon Na helped out with the event by handing out Nerf guns and informing students of the rules. His hopes were that the event could allow students to connect to childhood memories of mock battles and adrenaline-inducing games of tag with Nerf guns. 

“As a senior, a lot of things that I’m doing nowadays [come with] a realization that after I graduate, how many opportunities am I going to have to do things like this?” Na said. “After college, I’m going to go to work, and what am I going to do? Go to the water cooler and say, ‘Hey, here’s a Nerf gun?’ Come on, right?”

After a week of tagging and zombie stunning, the last of the humans and zombies faced off against each other at Reid for a final showdown. The last human, Sean Walsh, and the original zombie, Kate Moe, had a Nerf gun fight that ended with a victory for the humans. The prize for the winner was a gold-painted Nerf gun.

First-year Walsh looks forward to the next three years of trying to keep his winning streak alive.

“I feel like a million bucks; I just won a Humans vs. Zombies game for [the] first time ever,” Walsh said. “I’m definitely going to put [the Nerf gun] in my room like super high up so that everyone can see, and I’m going to tell everyone who goes to my room about this win.”