The University of North Carolina held a “Zombie Preparedness Festival” last week to educate students on the importance of being prepared for emergencies and apocalyptic events.
The festival was held at a part of the UNC campus known as The Pit where students regularly congregate throughout the school year.
UNC’s Emergency Management department head, Darrell Jeter, explained that the university got the idea to hold this event a few years ago, but it wasn’t until a 2-year-long pandemic struck that they decided to make it happen.
“While their focus needs to be learning and the campus experience, we also realize that sometimes they might encounter unsafe situations,” Jeter said. “And we want to make sure they know that while they’re here on campus, we have their safety top of mind for us, but campus safety is all of our responsibility. We want to partner with them so that they can take care of themselves while we take care of the broad community.”
What did the Students Learn?
So what all is involved with a Zombie Preparedness Festival? Students were able to learn helpful skills like self-defense, cooking, and fire safety while also covering important topics like mental health monitoring and drunk driving prevention.
For some students, this was their first time experiencing anything related to emergency preparedness. First-year student Azario Cloete admitted that this was their first time touching a fire extinguisher, but they found the demonstration “very helpful to know in the future.”
“A lot of our set-ups had attention because you could try something and see something and experience something, versus stopping by and us not having much to show,” Chapel Hill Fire Department’s Public Information Officer Alex Carrasquillo said. “I think having that hands-on element helps get the message across.”
Additionally, the information booths at the festival could also take credit for sparking interest in public safety and emergency preparedness as a career choice, according to UNC freshman Jacob Emejuru.
Where are Those Zombies?
So what about those zombies in the event’s title? About a dozen people dressed as zombies roamed the festival grounds to help set the atmosphere, complete with impressive special effects makeup courtesy of the university. Check out the video below for more on how these zombies were made.