Those fearing an impending zombie outbreak at Virginia Tech can rest easy.
In September, Stephanie McCracken, a junior majoring in biochemistry, created a Facebook event for Survive Blacksburg in the hopes that she and some friends would play, but she didn’t expect over 1,000 people to RSVP in the first month.
With such a huge interest in the event, which was planned for today, Oct. 28, the creators were forced to take a step back and think about the legal issues involved with planning such a large event on campus. According to university policy, organized events on campus are only allowed if they are sponsored by a student group or organization and if they have prior approval.
“I figured it would be me and a few friends so that it would be big enough to be fun, but I didn’t think it would get big enough to where it would become an issue,” McCracken said. “(But) I realized that having an event this big on campus would be very obstructive,” McCracken said.
Tech agreed with her stance.
“If you have a group of people on the sidewalk they might be disrupting people trying to get to class, the issue becomes that an event may be a disruption to the orderly flow of campus activity,” said university spokesman Larry Hincker.
Survive Blacksburg was designed as a large game of tag, except with zombies doing the tagging.
The event would pit a group of “infected” zombies against the rest of the “uninfected” playing the game.
McCracken got the idea from similar games in D.C. and in her hometown of Hampton.
“Basically I got an invitation on Facebook and I thought wow this sounds really fun,” McCracken said.
In the game “zombies” and “humans” start a central point and throughout the game the object is to reach three checkpoints and become a survivor. Armbands distinguish the living from the dead — a green one for zombies and a yellow one for the alive. Once you have been tagged you switch your wristband to green.
After talking with the events planning office McCracken realized that for it to be a university-recognized event, the group needs a sponsoring organization. Having insurance and security officers for the events also became an issue.
Some organizations had shown interest in supporting the event, but none had the funding for the insurance or security Survive Blacksburg would require as of last night, Oct. 27. According to McCracken, insurance alone on the event would run $5,000.
If the plan does come through in later months, McCracken hopes to make a possible charity event, having every participant pay $5 to play and have the profits go to a charity such as Invisible Children or Relay for Life.
“I want to do it right, I don’t want it to turn into something where people are being disruptive, destroying property or getting hurt,” McCracken said.