A toxic gas has escaped from the Integrated Science Center, transforming students into zombie-like shells of their former selves. Luckily, a team of surviving students and professors has collaborated to create a cure. The only catch? Someone must infiltrate the zombie-infested Campus Center to recover the remaining cure components trapped inside.
This scenario was the premise behind Alma Mater Production’s (AMP) third annual Zombie Apocalypse event. Organized by Maddie Kaplan ’14, the spooky evening saw teams of brave students line up to face the undead in a challenging combination of obstacle course and scavenger hunt throughout the night of Nov. 1.
While AMP organizes a number of special events around campus, Zombie Apocalypse may be the strangest.
“A few years ago, AMP’s head of special events had this brainchild and thought it would be hilarious and awesome to do it,” said Maddie Templeton ’14, a member of AMP’s special events committee and resident zombie make-up artist. “He made this event a thing, and it has continued ever since then.”
After signing in, teams passed the time waiting for their chance to save the College by playing on a variety of inflatable amusements and enjoying free pizza. Once a team was called, the adventure began.
Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler delivered a video briefing to participants, describing the premise, rules and mechanics of the Campus Center course. Their mission: survive the course while recovering the missing cure components, cleverly disguised as glowsticks. Two touches from a zombie, however, and it would be game over — the zombies gain a new victim.
When she signed off, the participants were on their own. Zombies emerged from behind the video screen, chasing the “survivors” down the first hall.
And on the course ran: upstairs, downstairs, through the normally docile student activities and residence life hallway — now filled with caution tape, upturned chairs and zombie students. If participants survived long enough to make it beyond the Campus Center atrium, they were home free. Prizes and more pizza awaited.
For many students, the Zombie Apocalypse has become a tradition.
“I came out tonight because I did this a couple of years ago with my freshman hall, and I want to see whether or not I can make it a little bit longer this time,” said Stephanie Gianturco ’15.
As much fun as it is for participants, the event would be nothing without the zombies. Over 20 students arrived at 7:30 p.m., hours before the event began, to transform themselves from mundane students to the lurching undead.
“I decided to be a zombie mostly because the pop culture of the moment is zombies,” James Ramser ’17. “Plus, any opportunity to do something cool and innovative on campus, like a zombie maze, is just right for me.”
While the uniqueness of the event is a draw to all, it is not without the opportunity for personal growth.
“I’m a very quietish person, so I was trying to expand my horizons, being in the college environment and trying new things,” said Anna Klompen ’17, who is also an AMP intern.
As the evening drew to a close and cleanup began, one thing was sure, Klompen was not alone in stepping outside her comfort zone on a night where even the mundane halls of the Campus Center concealed horrors (and excitement) unknown any other time of year.