By Garrett Walters
Zombies descended on the Redwood Bowl Oct. 15, dividing the people there into two groups: the survivors and the infected. Blood stained the faces of those with the misfortune of being bitten, exposed jaws and wounds on display to anyone around them. Soon to happen would be a chase through the forests surrounding the softball field, one that would not soon be forgotten. Expressions and exclamations of fear slowly spread through the survivors as they looked around at their soon-to-be hunters, leaving to go and take over the forest. When asked, one of the survivors admitted that she was scared out of her mind. Let off in groups of 15, the survivors headed into the forest, taking their life into their own hands.
However, the danger was easily dissipated by the scene that came before it, one of both survivors and zombies speaking openly with each other, along with the zombies getting made up to look the part. This was the 2013 Zombie Run. FREE, an on-campus organization supporting low-income students, the organization of women of color known as The Legacy, and the Y.E.S. House all teamed up to put this together. At the helm of putting things together however, was social work major Rodrigo Avila.
“I had to jump through a lot of hoops to make this happen,” Avila said.
He recounted stories of meeting Safety Risk, UPD, Clubs department, the Dean Of Students, and the kinesiology department to organize the supplies and secure the locations. Avila didn’t do it alone though. FREE helped with tabling for the event and ticket sales, Legacy provided the manpower on the day of the event, and Avila even enlisted the help of a friend in the school radio station, KRFH.
The idea of doing the Zombie Run occurred after a friend of Avila’s, Evone Woods, said that she was going to be attending a five-kilometer zombie run in Los Angeles. With the prevalence of zombie culture and hearing that people paid hundreds of dollars to run in these races, Avila realized that it would be a great idea to raise money for a variety of fundraisers, including a sock drive for the Court Appointed Special Advocates, also known as CASA, a Eureka based organization that helps the poor, as well as various other ones dealing with social justice and mental health awareness.
“Originally, I wanted it to be for mental health awareness, and have the zombies kind of symbolize the stigma of having mental health problem,” Avila said. “But when I spoke to people, they thought that people might get confused about it.”
He was slightly nervous about the event after only between 20 and 30 people pre-purchased tickets. However, with the turn out, he said he was pleased.
As far as the student participants went, it was an enjoyed event as well, one that people approached with a playful seriousness, planning strategies to avoid the zombies, or to catch the survivors in the case of the zombies themselves. One of these participants was Mark Freeman, a Humboldt State sophmore.
“It was just fun,” Freeman said. “The zombies took their job seriously, and there was just this feeling of…danger, even if I knew that I was just in the community forest with people in makeup. It is probably some of the most fun I have had this semester, and it was a great break from the stress of classes.”
From those that were spoken to, there was a constant feeling of enjoyment and escapism from the usual stress of school life. It was an event that were enjoyed by zombie and survivor alike.