It's Nerf or nothing

Roberto Campos

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When John Sieperski and Seth Green joined the student organization, Humans vs. Zombies, they were excited to participate in a student-run organization that had the potential to become something big.

Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) officially started on Oct. 19 and within 24 hours participants were told by security they could not use their Nerf Blasters.

“Security guards came up to us and told us that their director said that the Nerf Blasters were not allowed on campus and to tell other players they can’t use them,” junior criminal justice major Green said. “We were told that the people who organized HvZ that they had cleared the use of Nerf Blasters, if we can’t use Nerf Blasters that effectively shuts down the game.”

The game begins when one randomly selected participate becomes the original zombie and wears a black bandana and tags other human players to spread the infection. The humans wear white bandanas and use Nerf Blasters to stun zombies to prevent being infected and try to outlast the zombie outbreak.

“We think it is very inappropriate for security to get involved until we are being a disruption,” junior political science major Sieperski said. “We feel like we are very self-regulated and have a lot of self-imposed rules that makes the game safe and made it so we wouldn’t disrupt class, we even had two to three people monitoring on campus to make sure no one was breaking the rules. There was no risk of any safety problems.”

In 2005, students at Goucher College invented HvZ and the game now spans across 650 campuses across the world according to their website. At USI HvZ had as many as 165 members signed up on to play before the ban of the Nerf Blasters.

“This is among the most successful student organizations that I’ve witnessed in my time being here,” Sieperski said. “I’ve never seen people this excited about a campus organization before. The university always asks what would make people stay on campus on the weekends and a student organization gives kids an answer and the administration wants to shut it down.”

“They (the university) put on sports events and they host movie events, but no one is really interested in them,” John Poe, junior psychology major, said. “This is an organization by students, for students and students are excited about this and having fun and now they want to shut it down.”

Dean of Students Barry Schonberger, contacted Sieperski and met with him and other members of HvZ to discuss their organization.

“Barry Schonberger, the president of Student Government Association (SGA) and Dr. Posler were at the meeting, they were concerned that our event would have a negative effect against USI,” Sieperski said. “Our organization has a positive message. We wanted to bring enthusiasm and excitement to the campus, we are very pro USI organization and want to work with the administration to achieve our goals which are similar to theirs which is to develop the campus community.”

SGA President Jordan Whitledge said he believes the university can work together with the students to achieve a solution.

“This university is committed to working with students to change policies that inhibit growth for organizations,” Whitledge said. “The Student Government Association has developed strong partnerships across campus to aid in this facilitation. The administration has always been cooperative with students seeking to properly change policies that would benefit organizations. Members of the university administration and the organization have met and are working together to create proper solutions.”

Sieperski and members from HvZ met with Schonberger to discuss what it would take to make HvZ playable and to talk about concerns with student organizations on Wednesday.

“Zombies just an example of a much bigger issue,” Sieperski said. “We’re concerned that campus security, student development and scheduling services bureaucratic mess that stifles the growth of student organizations and the campus community. There is so much regulation and you have to jump through so many hoops just to be an official student organization.”

“You have to jump through so many hoops to become a student organization that people don’t start them because of that,” Green said. “That’s why we don’t see as many successful student organizations.”

On Thursday, HvZ is scheduled to meet on the Quad at 1 p.m. and walk to the USI Administration Building to hold a sit in if negoitations on Wednesday fail.

“HvZ is a symbol of the movement to reform student organizations,” Sieperski said. “We are going to make it a peaceful and positive event that is about building the community. We’ll be there rain or shine with unloaded Nerf Blasters.”

For more information about the sit in, visit www.asrusi.com.

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