August, 2013 Archives

What To Do When Zombies Attack

August 3rd, 2013

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, St. Olaf College is clearly the place to be.

When one of the Admissions Counselors at my daughter’s college asked her to write a letter to a prospective student — who was also a zombie aficionado — this is what she came up with. Yes, the counselor let her send it.

Dear ____,

Here’s the thing: there are more than enough biological weapons and freaky virus mutations out there that could spawn a zombie apocalypse in the blink of an eye, and if Patient Zero is identified in the next five years, you need to be at a college equipped to withstand the undead onslaught.

One school rises above the rest, rises with as much alacrity and stamina as any Rage Virus-filled corpse. That school is St. Olaf College.

My name is Skye Macrae Curtis. I’m a rising St. Olaf sophomore from the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan, so I know a thing or two about surviving in a crumbling civilization. I’m triple majoring in English, Theatre, and Psychology– which are all pretty fantastic, but being able to act out and analyze sonnets will only get me so far when the dead start to walk. That’s why I need YOU. Brian Burgemeister tells me that you know a thing or two about science– that’s good. We’ll need a quick-witted biology student like yourself to take blood samples, point out important arteries so that we can really shred those Walkers apart, and create some quasi-magical vaccine.

There are a few points about St. Olaf that absolutely MUST be impressed upon you from a zombie-slaying standpoint. We’re on a hill bordered by cornfields on three sides, which means that there’s both lower population density (fewer zombies!) and better visibility– with a few well-placed snipers, we could take out any Roamers without compromising our safety. On the fourth side of campus is a quaint, picturesque town with a fast river and an older population. The river would be an asset during the summer months, as few zombies would be able to withstand the torrential current. And the elderly population will be a boon in two ways: as proven by all zombie cannon, they’re more willing to sacrifice themselves to protect the young and virile, and once they Turn, they’ll be slow and feeble and easier to pick off. It’s a win-win scenario, and one you’ll rarely be promised from other colleges.

Once bitten, thrice Skye.

Once bitten, thrice Skye.

Beyond the geographic richness, St. Olaf’s campus itself offers several opportunities to avoid Brain Biters. We have not one, but two towers, which in a pinch could hold the entire student population if we sacrifice our happy personal bubbles for the common good. Several dorms have tunnels, which would make for easy escape routes, although entrances and exits could also prove to be a liability in case of infection. The school was founded in 1874 by stalwart Norwegian immigrants carving out a livelihood in the stark Minnesotan plains; our architecture has been built to withstand snow and siege alike. Our library, when linked with that of Carleton College across town, holds over a BILLION volumes, (in bound and electronic form) chock-full of valuable information to help you defeat this zombie scourge. Because of St. Olaf’s emphasis on sustainability, our largest academic building is run mostly on solar power and has filtration systems in place to render the rainwater and snow potable– and our sustainability efforts have also led rise to our own farming system, StoGrow. Most importantly, our smaller campus means that it takes less than half an hour to traverse the grounds while on crutches… Believe me; I’ve tested this. Injuries WILL happen if the dead do walk. How far are you willing to limp for medical aid?

Finally, St. Olaf College is located in Minnesota, and that means WE HAVE A VERY LONG WINTER. Some weaker-hearted men might consider that a detracting feature, but to the discerning student of undead lore, “Winter is Coming” might be the most attractive sentence ever spoken. Zombies will literally be unable to traverse the corn-bearing plains from late October to April– and this past spring, we had snow on the ground until mid-May. Think about that for a moment. While your friends in Florida might tease you now by Tweeting pictures of their thermometers in January, when society falls, you’ll be smiling smugly about your sub-zero stonewall.

Look. You’ve read the books, you’ve seen the movies, you know we’re teetering on the edge of an apocalypse. You can arm yourself with all the katanas and crossbows in the world, but without the right community, you’re as good as Infected. St. Olaf will always be here to welcome you in, but whether that’s as a shell-shocked refugee or as a war hero is completely on your own head.

Your comrade in arms (even if you only have one by the end of the siege),

Skye