More than 100 Florida Polytechnic University students have spent their week planning attacks, creating alliances, and defending themselves from a relentless horde of “zombies” making their way across the Lakeland campus.
“This is the jumpiest week of the year for me,” said Richard Woody, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. “I take the long way to class simply because it’s a safer route.”
The Nerf Tech student organization is hosting its biannual Humans vs. Zombies campuswide event from Jan. 22-26. About 115 students loaded their Nerf blasters and joined in the fun.
The game kicks off with two “original zombies” (OZs), who begin the battle by attacking the first humans. It’s played with game and safety rules in place, and a break in the action happens from midnight to 6 a.m. each day. Campuses across the country have similar versions of the game.
“It’s essentially a giant game of tag, but with a Nerf twist,” said junior mechanical engineering major Ethan Hanish, Nerf Tech’s president.
This week’s game at Florida Poly started with two large teams of “humans,” easily identifiable by their bright blue or orange armbands. Once hit by a “zombie’s” Nerf dart, the human joins the pack of zombies by turning their armband into a headband and they begin stalking their former allies. If a human tags a zombie, the zombie is only stunned and unable to play for a short while.
As the zombie team grows throughout the week, the number of humans dwindles, and Florida Poly’s outdoor areas become battlegrounds of Nerf blasters and strategic gameplay.
The Humans vs. Zombies event has a campus history nearly as old as the University itself, Hanish said, transitioning from an informal, guerilla-style battle nearly 10 years ago, to the organized event played by students today. Hamish said the event would not be possible without its 10-member dedicated moderator team, who worked throughout the week to ensure its success.
Students often become enthusiastic about Humans vs. Zombies after their first exposure to the game, said Hanish, who joined the club during his freshman year.
“I wasn't sure what the club was until I came to campus,” he said. “After attending a rules meeting, I was hooked and reached out to the e-board. I got involved in helping the next semester and eventually became the president.”
Woody said the event offers yet another fun thing to do on campus.
“I’ve met friends through the event and it’s fun to get out and fire your blaster,” he said. “The last three times I’ve played, I’ve made it to the last night, and I hope I can do that again.”
Director of Communications