Published January 28, 2011
Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
The SAU is not safe.
Stephen Kelly

Wake up. It’s a normal morning. Too early, but that’s how a normal morning goes. Brush your teeth. Get dressed. Walk outside. Still normal. But then, everything changes. The sidewalks are deserted, and the bus never comes. It’s quiet, too quiet. Suddenly, you see them: zombies. These are not your playful if annoying Human vs. Zombies variety; you have a class-A end-of-the-world scenario on your hands.

Thankfully, you’ve come prepared.

Pick Your Poison

In any zombie outbreak, the first thing you need to do is identify what kind of zombies you’re dealing with. “Slow” zombies are your classic “Dawn of the Dead” style, shuffling creepers. They may be slow, but they’re incredibly resilient. Invulnerable to pain, the only thing that can truly kill them is the destruction of their brain. Slow zombies travel in hordes, wandering aimlessly until they find a source of their preferred food (brains). If you find yourself up against slow zombies, discretion is definitely the better part of valor. While they can be killed, the difficulty in doing so will waste valuable time, energy and most importantly, ammunition.

At the other end of the spectrum are your “fast” zombies. These nasty buggers are agile, clever and squishy. While slow zombies are like herd grazers, fast zombies are more like pack hunters; quick and deadly. Their squishiness is their downfall, however. Your average fast zombie has a high tolerance for pain, but they are no more resilient to blunt trauma than the average human. This makes open combat a valid option. But, remember: zombies tend to travel in groups; where there is one, there will be others. Wasting time fighting is not always the best idea.

Regardless of what type of zombie you face, remember they are infectious beings. Hand to hand combat is only to be used as a last resort. Killing zombies may be fun, but preventing zombie bites is far more important than adding to your kill count. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, survival is key.

Things To Do and Places To Be

Now that the end of life as we know it has begun, you’re going to need a safe place to ride it out. On campus, your options are limited. Most of the buildings at RIT have only a few stories and a multitude of entry points, making them very difficult to secure. While it may be tempting to try and take advantage of the food stores in the SAU, its open spaces and multiple entrances make it one of the worst places to go. Try turning to George Eastman Hall instead. The narrow stairways provide natural choke points, and, as zombies don’t know how to operate elevators, its upper floors will be a natural haven. Plus, the building’s top floor, and little-known restaurant, Henry’s, could be a food source in a pinch.

On the residential side of campus, consider exploiting the tunnels. Sol’s Underground and The Corner Store can offer supplies, and the tunnels themselves are a natural choke point for zombies.

Best of all, the tunnels have fire doors that could be closed to section the tunnel system off into individual segments, making defense even easier. Of course, you should never overlook the option of barricading yourself in your room. In the dorms, you and your floor mates can pool resources and see how long you can last, but the lack of a full kitchen may become a problem. In the apartments, on the other hand, a well-stocked pantry can be the difference between life and death.

Now, let’s say you’ve survived the first few weeks. Food is short, and it’s getting more difficult to avoid direct combat with the zombies. You need supplies, ammo and medicine. The good news is that Rochester has plenty of places to get these things. The trick is knowing where to go. Consider the following options:


Warehouse club stores offer a wide variety of goods in huge quantities. With lots of open floor space, though, you can easily be surrounded should zombies take hold of your position. These stores are also designed with large front entrances, numerous loading docks and emergency exits, making defense even more difficult. On the plus side, a place with that many supplies is sure to attract a large crowd of people, so you’ll have plenty of friends to lend a hand. On the down side, if your new friends don’t feel like sharing, you may want to try your luck with the zombies instead.


There are numerous locations in the Rochester area, one of which is a short distance from campus. If you get a chance, you’re better off making your way to the “Super Wegmans” in Pittsford Plaza on Monroe Ave. Either way, you’re looking at aisles and aisles of crucial food and medical supplies. The store is also much smaller and easier to manage than your average warehouse store, but as with those stores, expect a lot of people to be congregating there, for better or for worse.

Gander Mountain

This should be your primary objective. The camping equipment, supplies and weapons they have in stock are the holy trinity of any zombie survivalist. Go to Gander Mountain, or another sporting goods store, and either camp there or gather supplies for an extended stay in the wilderness until the whole thing blows over.

What Not To Do

Short answer: drive. Long answer: Driving will get you picked apart by zombies while you’re stuck in gridlock. The unwashed masses will be making a mass exodus from the city. The streets will be stopped up, and the highways will be stalled bumper to bumper. If you need to move fast, two wheels are your best bet.

Avoid traveling alone, but don’t travel with people you don’t know. Less scrupulous survivors will try to use you for your superior knowledge and supplies. Keep an eye out, know what you’re up against, and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll ensure your survival and the survival of humanity.

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