MU unleashed the undead as it launched its first ever Zombie Week on Sept. 27.
Zombie Week started as a general suggestion that continued to gain interest until it came to encompass a wide array of student groups, departments and organizations.
The collaboration of so many different groups has been beneficial in the planning of the event, Director of Student Activities Joey Greenstein said.
“If it was just the department of student activities, I don’t think we could have expanded our view on the subject,” Greenstein said. “The fact that we have people who are actually interested in these things and have researched it, they have brought the passion to the table.”
LuAnne Roth, assistant teaching professor in the English department, said she is thrilled there is such a diverse group of participants.
“It’s often hard to get people of different disciplines to talk with each other,” Roth said. “So this is a common language we’re sharing, and that’s really exciting.”
Brought together through common interest, the Zombie Week committee aims to reach out into the community and the student body as it tries something new.
Zombie Week focuses on reaching out to engage different audiences, Greenstein said.
Computer science instructor Chip Gubera said they are playing around with zombie metaphors and trying to promote the week in fun ways.
“We are looking more and more like zombies everyday because of technology,” Gubera said. “There’s an interesting parallel there, and I think something a lot of people can relate to. Zombies are fun that way.”
Various activities are open to students and the Columbia community throughout the week.
Gubera, who was primarily involved with the 48-hour movie challenge Friday, said they hope to tap into the community for participants along with students. The movie challenge contained a separate entry category just for the citizens of Columbia.
Department of Student Activities films will also be screening “World War Z” on Friday.
“I think film definitely adds to Zombie Week by bringing everyone together for a moment,” said Kenton Gewecke, senior chairman of DSA films.
Roth, who’s teaching a zombie course this semester, said she hopes Zombie Week can open the minds of people who just view the zombie as an obsession.
“A lot of people think that it is just something fun or a fad, and they don’t realize just how much can be learned by studying zombies,” Roth said.
Panels will discuss the undead as it relates to areas of romance languages, biology and sociology. Thursday’s Zombie Outbreak simulation allows for students to be placed within a fictional setting and learn about defense and safety measures.
“It’s not just about zombies,” Greenstein said. “It’s also about health and learning about resources and emergency preparedness.”
Staff from the Master of Public Health program will be involved with the simulation, informing people how to react if a bad situation arises.
Program adviser Sandra Gummersheimer said the merging of safety information with the zombie obsession is a good way for participants to learn and have fun.
“I think Zombie Week is a great way to lighten things up and make it fun and educational,” Gummersheimer said.
Greenstein said he hopes zombies can bring MU together and open people’s minds.
“I hope students keep an open mind to different events that may not have interested them right away,” Greenstein said. “And to try new things, because that’s what we’re doing, we’re trying new things.”