For the first time since 2006, Humans vs. Zombies tag is back from the dead. From Monday to Friday, the popular game is living a second life as more than 250 Cornellians compete in the popular game of campus-wide tag.
The game, played on several college campuses, involves two teams — one of humans and one of Zombies — which are denoted by fabric bands placed on different parts of the participants’ bodies. Over a week, teams engage in missions to capture objects and achieve goals set by Stellie Ford ’13, who organized the game on campus with Dustin Franco ’13.
The Cornell Humans vs. Zombies website states that “the purpose of the game is not to win.”
Organizers said the game stresses safety and friendly competition, encouraging students to experience the outdoors and enjoy Cornell’s green spaces.
“Our first rule is, ‘Don’t be a douchebag,’” Ford said. “Our second rule is, ‘Always follow rule one.’”
The organizers said they hoped the event would promote mental health on campus and provide a release from the stress of prelims.
“It’s a just a fun event to wind down from tests, play tag and be a kid for a little bit,” said Stellie Ford ’13, who organized the game on campus with Dustin Franco ’13.
Mobs of enthusiastic students donning arm and headbands played on the Arts Quad this week.
“War is hell,” Samantha Bobra ’13 said in an email to participants, which was obtained by The Sun.
“It's not clear which of our communications are being overheard by the mindless plague that has descended upon our campus. Despite their love of brains, they are no longer ‘thinking’ people,” Bobra said in her email to the remaining “humans.”
Zombies must “tag” all of the members of the “Human” team, thus bringing them to the Zombie team. Humans have a chance to defend against Zombie attacks by throwing balled up socks.
Cornellians played Humans vs. Zombies in 2006, but University officials stopped the game when participants used plastic Nerf guns and played too aggressively, according to Ford. Franco and Ford have responded to safety issues by using socks instead of guns.
The rules are posted on the event’s Facebook group and participants are reminded of safety concerns at the start of each mission. Students are warned to avoid jumping, climbing, parkour, biting and tackling. “Safe zones” — which are out of play — include buildings, staircases and areas near the gorges.
Franco and Ford brought the popular Humans vs. Zombies game back to Cornell with the support of the Cornell’s Event Management Planning Team, they said. Franco and Ford have been actively promoting the event for the past week, creating a Facebook group, handing out quarter cards on campus and relying on word of mouth.
“A few really passionate players have been critical to our success,” Franco said.
Cornell MindsMatter, a mental health advocacy group, was also involved in the promotion of the event. MindsMatter Campus Outreach Chair Caryn Berley ’13 said that Humans vs. Zombies fits in well with MindsMatter’s initiatives to relieve stress on campus.
“Things at Cornell get competitive. This is for fun,” Berley said. “It’s a cool thing to be involved in. People are enjoying it.”
More events are planned for the spring semester. Franco and Ford said they plan on establishing a club for the game and donating proceeds of t-shirt sales and enrollment fees to conservation funds supporting green spaces. They expect participation to increase from this week’s game and are hoping to triple the number of humans and zombies next semester.
“This is good for Cornell,” Ford said. “Students are having fun with no preconditions.”