Finally, your worst nightmare has become reality: drooling, lumbering zombies walk the Earth. Your home is not safe enough, and somehow or other you find yourself taking shelter on campus. On the bright side, midterms are the least of your worries now. But what’s a student trapped at UTM to do? Follow us, dear reader, and you may live to write another exam.
FOOD is your biggest concern. Run to the Temporary Food Court in Davis, the cafeteria in Oscar Peterson Hall, or one of the other campus cafés as soon as the zombiepocalypse begins. Most likely, other survivors will do the same; take this opportunity to collect food, network, and join a group while you enjoy the last slices of banana bread. These food sources will be the first to run dry without the usual replenishing, so rationing is key. Or visit the Blind Duck, which offers fresh and frozen food supplies and alcoholic beverages to drown your sorrows. Try not to overindulge—you’ll need your senses sharp to stay alive.
If you’re running low on energy, rummage through the bookstore’s meagre supply of sugary snacks or topple a vending machine for a quick boost of junk food.
As the zombiepocalypse drags on, you’ll need to learn to collect mushrooms and edible forest plants in the wooded areas around UTM. At this point, a biology background may finally come in handy for identifying what you can eat. Use your new weapons to hunt the numerous deer, squirrels, raccoons, mice, and skunks that inhabit our campus.
Most of the areas where food is available on campus are dangerously exposed, so stay alert when scavenging.
WEAPONS are a high priority. Without a convenient stash on campus, survivors will have to make do with whatever they find.
The Campus Police office may have some arms if you’re lucky, but even so, ammunition will be limited. Hitting up the Health Sciences Centre yields scalpels, scissors, and other medical supplies. These may be sharp objects, but they’re used at close range and as such aren’t ideal for zombie-fighting (unless you’re an accomplished scalpel-thrower). But sharp objects come in handy for fashioning stakes out of chair or table legs. The Student Centre’s wooden chairs are highly recommended, being easier to carve than the plastic or metal ones found elsewhere on campus.
If you must go close-range, shards of glass make another good and easily accessible weapon. Wrap a thick cloth around one end of a large piece of glass and you’ve got yourself a great zombie-slashing tool. Even so, don’t risk staying close enough for more than a couple hits. Consider raiding food court kitchens for metal utensils, especially knives. Go for non-serrated; you wouldn’t want the knife’s teeth to catch on a zombie’s insides and leave you battling to get it back.
Another good option given the amount of construction on campus is work tools. A sledgehammer packs a great punch, though it will wear you down if you’re out of shape. If you’re lucky, you might get a hold of the ideal zombie apocalypse weapon: a crowbar. It’s good for opening doors, breaking locks, and smashing a zombie’s head in at arm’s length. If no crowbars turn up, try raiding someone’s trunk.
Lastly, remember that your weapons won’t hold up forever, so always keep your eyes peeled for more.
KINDLING for warmth and cooking is essential. Books, tables, and chairs are ideal. The Copy and Print Centre will have some leftover printer paper and you probably won’t need to pay 10 cents a sheet given the collapse of civilization. The Medium doubles as high-quality kindling. If you run out, pay a visit to the bookstore for a fuel haven.
LIGHTING is a good idea because you’re pretty sure to face a power outage. The flashlight on your iPhone won’t last longer than a day or two. Colman Commons might have flashlights. Matches or candles will be your best sources of light. It might be hard to secure a medieval-style torch, but the alcohol lamps hidden in the labs around the Davis Building will do the trick while adding some much-needed ambiance to your surroundings. Remember that the bright light could draw a zombie horde, so be careful.
BARRICADES can be made by stacking chairs, desks, and couches against points of entry to keep the zombies out unless and until they happen to swarm. Avoid stacking too many things in front of doors to keep your escape route accessible in case of emergency. You also need to worry about the noise of moving desks in case you need to make a run for supplies.
AN ESCAPE PLAN will complement the barricades. They won’t hold forever, and you need to know your way out in case you get swarmed, especially if you’re hiding above the first floor. Jumping out the window and breaking your leg means instant death in these circumstances. If you have a car, keep it parked close by and have the runners in your group siphon gas from any abandoned cars around campus to keep your tank full.
ALCOHOL can be used for sterilizing medical equipment or as a fuel source for an alcohol lamp. If any St. George or Sheridan shuttles happen to have been left at UTM when zombies overran the place, sneak aboard and snag the first aid kits.
CCT’s main floor walls are windows with weak structural integrity and high visibility, and at night zombies can see inside but you can’t see out. Collect food and first aid supplies from the first floor in the initial stages of the zombie invasion. You might also be able to secure a kitchen cleaver or at least a pizza cutter from the Circuit Break Café. Zombies are harder to cut than pizza, but you take what you can get.
The second floor has a small kitchen next to the ICCIT hallway, but the resources in this area are limited. Once upstairs, survivors must seal the stairwars. Unfortunately, the majority of tables in CCT are screwed to the concrete flooring and there aren’t enough chairs to block both stairways. The higher up you go, the fewer barricade materials are available. There are computer labs on most floors that seem very secure but they offer no escape routes.
The only really safe place in CCT is the elusive fourth floor, which you’ll know about if you’ve ever taken part in a psych experiment. Stairs to it are rare and you might be able to get to it by using the elevator before the powergoes out. Supplies are scarce, but there is a little break room and kitchenette where you can prepare food. Ultimately, though, your only option here is to wait for a rescue mission.
Luckily, there’s another option. CCT is well connected to other buildings. The library isn’t a good option, but you can get to Davis via the connecting hallway by CCT1080, and there are more connections on upper floors (I suggest the second-floor ICCIT hallway through the Annex). Try to get to an area with more resources and enclosed areas.
This venture is extremely risky, since it’s unlikely the Annex will be cleared and that other groups of survivors, if there are any, will welcome a new group sharing resources.
When the zombies attack, don’t be in the library. The walls consist mostly of windows and will do little to prevent zombies breaking through, while two staircases that stop at every floor make it nearly impossible to hide upstairs safely. Most of the tables and chairs are screwed to the floor, preventing their use as barricades or weapons. The study rooms are too vulnerable; avoid them.
The library has few supplies to offer beyond basic first aid kits. Starbucks has some food if you can get to it through the small doorway and across the hall, protected only by glass. (If you can get there, of course, you’ll feel like you saved a lot getting a $2 cake pop for free.) Weapon availability is low. Perhaps survivors could throw books to slow the undead, although this will only postpone the inevitable. On the bright side, those hiding out in the library will have no shortage of flammable materials to keep them toasty.
The library’s most terrifying feature is the shelves, which form a deadly book maze with zombies potentially waiting around every corner. Due to the tall bookshelves, you can’t see who or what is coming towards you. You can press a button and slide them over to crush an unsuspecting zombie in a pile of books and that helps, but this weapon is really too slow to be effective. Besides, what happens when a zombie accidentally lumbers into one while you’re between the shelves?
The escape routes include the link to CCT, the doors to IB, or the basement door leading to the field north of the building. Every route guarantees an encounter with undead wanderers craving human flesh—survivors who try to escape will probably be eaten.
No place is safe to stay. No route is safe for escape. There is no hope for those in the library.
IB offers little safety from the incoming zombie horde. The main floor is vulnerable since it’s almost entirely walled in glass. All the tables and benches in the building combined wouldn’t block the undead from breaking and climbing through the windows. Collect the food and first aid supplies by Second Cup within the first few hours of the zombie invasion, before the first floor floods with zombies.
The upper floors of the building are somewhat safer, and barricading the stairways could prevent an attack. The upper-floor vending machines provide enough food for a short while.
Due to its vulnerability and low food supplies, IB is only viable as a short-term refuge until you move to a better location. Before you leave, smash the upper-floor windows and craft the shards into daggers; use the metal rods under tables as clubs.
After collecting a sufficient number of weapons, survivors have a few escape routes available. The north exit, next to the shuttle bus stop, is best used for jumping into a conveniently parked vehicle with the hope of finding safety off-campus. Using the west exit gives you the options of moving to the North Building or stealing one of the abandoned cars in the nearby parking lot. If you choose the east exit in the hopes of finding resources and safety in CCT, prepare to sprint the short distance between IB and the library.
Being surrounded by a glass building in the middle of a zombiepocalypse is a bad idea. One wall on the semi-circular first floor of the building consists almost entirely of glass windows.
Zombies are slow and relatively stupid, but should they get past the pit, hundreds of them pressing up against a window would mean serious trouble for whoever is on the other side. Luckily, the presence of a gigantic construction hole in the middle of the yard will prevent zombies from breaking down the glass and getting inside the place, at least assuming the zombiepocalypse happens before the renovated building opens next September.
The building isn’t entirely useless. Kicking the doors off lockers would provide sturdy weapons against one or two zombies. Vending machines will keep groups going on soda for a couple months if properly rationed. The Blackwood Gallery has a box office from which you could snipe zombies in the hallway if you have any kind of weapon that can be used at range.
There is also second floor that has a bit of a labyrinthine quality and some accessibility issues if the elevators are down. But in the end, there are few supplies that make the building worth visiting. No food, no decent weapons, and more than four entrances, in addition to the wall of glass, make Kaneff a bad spot for sitting out the zombie attack. The only plus is a quick dash to the bus stop for a getaway.
The Student Centre is hit or miss. It has glass walls, but it’s close to the pub, so there’s lots of survival gear at hand.
The highly exposed pub will be closed off by a secure gate that separates the pub from the rest of the Centre. The two points of entry in the Centre can be easily barricaded with the couches on the main floor and the tables in the pub. Pub chairs could also serve as kindling for a fire. There will probably be food storage in the back, too, as well as alcohol.
The stairs to the second floor offer a last-minute defence against a zombie chase. Shoving one down a flight of stairs would slow them down. There are stairs up to the balcony that have access directly to the second floor, though, and it could be hard to guard them all. The office doors in the Student Centre might be flimsy, but at least they lock (UTMSU policies probably do not include office access for zombies).
The final bastion is the Medium office. It has a large glass wall, but only a small part of it is accessible. Its only entrance is a heavy locked door. However, it does have a sink and a water supply—you have to crawl and turn a valve—and stale food has sometimes been spotted in the darkroom.
Should you escape, the Student Centre is too far from other buildings; Kaneff, CCT, or the townhouses are the only nearby refuges, and none of them rate highly.
And most importantly, unless you can get past the awkwardness of the unisex bathrooms, the only other ones are located on the lower floor, so if a zombie gets in you may just go in your pants rather than sally forth down the stairs.
LEAST LIKELY TO BE MAULED
HEALTH SCIENCES COMPLEX
The Health Sciences Complex consists of four floors with a central staircase linking them. The staircase is a liability, but one thing’s certain: you don’t want to be on the first floor. There are several glassy entrances that will be difficult to watch all at once. But there’s a connection to Davis on an upper floor, so you don’t need to keep the downstairs option open. Block off the stairway thoroughly at the second floor.
A bit more security can be gained by finding the complex within a complex, a.k.a. the faculty and staff offices, which are barred with a large wooden door to make an inner fortress. Even behind the door, I recall there being exits to the terraces in case of emergency, and those are on upper levels so they probably allow for a somewhat safe escape.
There are two long-term advantages to the HSC. One is the possibility of doing research. If you happen to be a medical student (and if you’re in there after hours, I suppose you must be, what with the locking-out of the general populace), then you can take advantage of the labs and instruments for some dissection that could eventually shed light on the origin of and solution to the zombie infection, depending on which universe we’re working in here. If you find the antidote, make sure you share it with everyone else on campus.
The other advantage is the little haven on the top floor that includes (besides nice seating) a snack bar stocked with many kinds of tea and other amenities, as well as an electric kettle, last time I checked. The use of these items is supposed to be exclusive while the campus is running normally, but the zombiepocalpyse affords the perfect chance to get in on these treats while waiting to be overrun.
WILLIAM G DAVIS BUILDING
Davis is built like a fortress, but it doesn’t offer much for the struggling survivor. The massive, rat maze structure is bound to confuse you as much as it confuses the zombies. And there are too many entrances in the building to ever be truly safe inside. Barricading them all is inefficient and impossible. The exits in the large classrooms make good escape routes for survivors but an easy way in for zombies.
With four floors to the building—and a fifth if you know the mysterious route to the UTM Greenhouse—keeping a distance from the zombies would be feasible for a while. If you need to escape quickly, you can get up to the roof through one of many stairwells. But besides getting lost in machinery rooms, your only option is jumping off the roof and that option sucks.
The small classrooms and offices on the upper floors won’t fit more than one or two people. The group will need to split up into separate rooms, making it more dangerous if the entire group needs to in leave in the middle of the night. But there are many floors to hide out on with tons of classrooms in which to set up camp. If a group of zombies storms in, hide out in one of the classrooms and the horde may pass right by you. The small but vulnerable glassed EnviroHub across from the Faculty Club on the third floor affords a commanding view of the Meeting Place.
Getting lost in the basement would mean almost instant death. Even competent navigators will have trouble finding a safe way upstairs to escape. And basements are creepy enough without adding the slow growl of a zombie behind you. Or beside you. Or in front of you… It’s possible. The architecture is really confusing.
Probably the most hated building by students during the school year, North is by far the best chance for survival during the zombiepocalypse. With barely any glass and plenty of concrete, the building is a secure place for survivors.
The building, particularly the second floor, is maze-like, though significantly smaller than the Davis Building and easier to manoeuver. If you know your way around, hiding inside one of the many offices to avoid zombies will be easy. Living students have a hard enough time navigating the second floor, so imagine the trouble the zombies will have. Plus, the windows inside the offices serve as good lookout points. If the North Building had been built in the Middle Ages (and it’s so old it might have been), those would have made excellent arrow slits.
The stuffy classrooms may elicit moans from students during the year, but they’ll keep you safe from the moans of zombies. The crowded classrooms will stay warmer in the winter months. But the doors are flimsy, and it might not take much effort for zombies to enter. Heavier doors are on the drama students’ rehearsal halls. Ask one of them to share the code with you now so you’re prepared when the zombiepocalypse happens.
The construction site offers a great weapon selection. Of course, if you’re trying to wield a jackhammer, you might be more of a danger to yourself than to the zombies.
The building is hidden away in the back of campus, making it easier to avoid an attack there. But the location may be too secluded. Travelling to the rest of the campus to gather supplies would be dangerous and terrifying.
FORENSIC SCIENCE SHACK (NEAR LISLEHURST)
Don’t even get me started.