Thursday, June 20, 2024

Club Spotlight: Zombie Defense League

Although the name implies it, the Zombie Defense League (ZDL) of Plattsburgh State is about much more than fighting off zombies. The club’s interests lie in cultivating campus-wide events and providing more fun activities for PSUC students.

Founded in 2012, the club has around 15 to 20 members and are looking for more. This semester, they meet every Monday evening from 8 to 9 p.m. in Yokum 203.
PSUC senior television and video production major and current ZDL President Joe Hobin’s primary goal for the league is to host three big events every semester in Plattsburgh. So far, he has organized two out of the three.

Zombie Walk is the club’s earliest annual event occurring the weekend before Halloween. This particular event takes place downtown and is open to the entire Plattsburgh community including college students, town residents and beyond. Residents from Vermont and Canada also make their way to Plattsburgh to take part in the walk.

“It’s kind of like a zombie parade,” ZDL Vice President Vienna Ainsworth said. “Everyone dresses as zombies and we walk around Plattsburgh. There’s a Zombie Prom at the end where we play music and have snacks.”

“Humans vs. Zombies”, another of the three events, is the club’s signature event that occurs every semester. A five-day-long game, “Humans vs. Zombies” begins on a Monday morning at 7 a.m. and ends typically between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. that Friday.

It consists of two teams, humans and zombies, who must go about their daily routine and activities for the week. Every player receives a bandana. Humans wear it on their arms and zombies wear it on their head. Team Human must always be on the watch for zombies in order to avoid being tagged and becoming a zombie and to strike them with a sock ball in order to “stun” them for five minutes.

Every player must be registered to play the game. This semester, registration starts Monday, March 19 and closes on Friday, March 23. It will take place in Hudson 309. The games begin Monday, March 26 and ends Friday, March 30.

Getting more people to recruit has been somewhat difficult for the club.

“A lot of people know us from the ‘Bandana Game’ which is ‘Humans vs. Zombies’,” Ainsworth said. “They’ll say ‘Oh you’re those people that run around with the bandanas.”
“We’ll put the word out on student digest and things like that but not many people read it,” PSUC accounting major and ZDL club Treasurer Sara Szczypien said.

Slender Night is another event, one that has been introduced to the club by Hobin. Based on the video game “Slender: The Eight Pages,” Slender Night is a campus wide-scavenger hunt.
“We divide into different teams, usually around two to three,” Ainsworth explained. “We have the notes from the game hidden around campus. Three different sets of them in three different colors, and the teams have to go around and find their set of notes with their color.”

In addition to collecting their eight pages, the teams have to watch out for the “Slendermen” a group in the game whose goal is to prevent the teams from finding their notes by tagging them out of the game.

“It’s really fun because it spans the entire campus,” Szczypien said. “There’s a lot of looking involved.”

Ainsworth adds the game is also played late at night with flashlights, so, “It’s a lot like the actual video game just with slightly less paranoia.”
Due to the college’s rules and regulations, however, there are limits placed on the club.

For starters, those playing as Slendermen in Slender Nights are not allowed to wear a Morphsuit or Slender’s “faceless” mask because of “controversial issues” Hobin said.

These “controversial issues” Hobin referred to stem from the Slender Man stabbing, a 2014 case where two 12-year-old girls from Waukesha, Wisconsin stabbed her classmate in inspiration of the fictional character.

Furthermore, the league is prohibited from using Nerf guns as they would’ve liked to for their “Humans vs. Zombies” event, which is why sock balls are used instead.

The league’s most exciting event is their annual trip to Dystopia Rising, a weekend-long live-action role-play network in Morlow, Oklahoma that the club is affiliated with. Participants create a character they’re going to play as and has to survive in a post-zombie apocalyptic horror world by building alliances with other players.

The Zombie Defense League is open to and interested in collaborating with other clubs on campus to help foster new events and activities for students, recruit more members and gain recognition for the club.

Email Lexus Gomez at

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