It's more than just a club; it's a line of defense.

The continuing goal of Western Students Against Zombies (WSAZ) is to educate Western students about zombies and prepare them for a possible zombie attack or “outbreak.” Such an event may seem unlikely, but club president Gregory Barrett said Western students should take the threat of an outbreak very seriously.

“They don't sleep,” Barrett said. “They don't tire. That incessant moaning right outside your door has proven to drive people to insanity.”

Western Students Against Zombies was founded last year, Barrett said.

“We had some big ideas that we weren't able to get off the ground,” He said. “But we plan to do them this year.”

Barrett said he hopes to bring Max Brooks, author of “The Zombie Survival Guide,” to campus for a presentation some time this year. WSAZ also wants to get more public screenings of zombie movies on campus.

“For educational purposes of course,” Barrett said.

So, what should students do in the event of a zombie outbreak?

“It depends on the size of the outbreak,” Barrett said. “If it's a low-level outbreak and easily containable, then I would first and foremost suggest barricading where you live and waiting it out. However, there's no guarantee that that low-level outbreak would be contained properly, and if that's the case, then it could quite easily become a very big disaster very soon, in which case I would suggest that you run.”

People who decide to barricade themselves in should stay off the first floor, destroy staircases if possible, and fill a bathtub with water in case the water supply is cut off, Barrett said. If you decide to run, make sure you know where you're going, and don't make detours. Be prepared to move on if the place you thought was going to be safe turns out to be overrun. Travel in groups of 10 or fewer, wear waterproof shoes and remember to travel at night and sleep during the day, Barrett said.

“If you sleep at night, zombies can see just as well,” Barrett said. “They are not at a disadvantage, and if you do something like light a fire, that will just be a beacon to them.”

The affliction that turns people into zombies is probably a virus, Barrett said, and not a supernatural force of any kind.

“It's been shown that a zombie bite is fatal,” Barrett said. “There's little to nothing you can do. The only theory…and it's only a theory, I've never seen it work…is if you sever the appendage that's been bitten. It has to be almost instantaneous from the time of the bite to the time you sever the appendage, because with every heart beat, that virus is going through your system and infecting you.”

Severing an appendage to prevent zombie infection is likely to do more harm then good, Barrett said. Not only would it be extremely difficult to dress the wound, but there is no guarantee that it would prevent infection.

Until an outbreak happens, Barrett said, it's hard to know what could happen.

“There are some people…who believe that a zombie bite isn't necessarily a carrier,” Barrett said. “If the virus comes out and there's an outbreak, it could potentially infect all the living, and if anyone dies due to any other outside force short of some sort of head trauma, they will rise.”

In other words, Barrett said, one wouldn't necessarily have to be bitten by a zombie to become one.

“That's a scary possibility,” Barrett said. “That means a scratch out in the wilderness could get infected, you could die from that, and then you're another number for the rest of your party to worry about.”

Zombies would not be the only threat to the uninfected, Barrett said. In an outbreak of apocalyptic proportions, society could collapse.

“Once pharmacies and stores have been raided, supplies are going to be increasingly hard to come by,” Barrett said. “No place is safe, only safer.”

Fortunately, Western students have a resource right here on campus to turn to in such a catastrophe.

“What people can expect our group to do is try and provide as much information and as much support as possible,” Barrett said. “You can be sure that if an outbreak did occur, we would come to Western's aid in any way we could.”