Monday, October 22, 2012

Our Zombie Apocalypse

The Transportation Department at BSU is careful to provide us with clean, well-maintained vehicles for university-related travel. So it really makes no sense to wash a university van off-campus. Unless ZOMBIES are involved, that is!

While driving back from the NESTVAL 2012 conference in Farmington, Maine, we drove through the mill town of  Livermore Falls, where we noticed teenagers in various stages of decay. With vacant looks in their eyes, they slumped along the side of the road with signs imploring us to support a car wash.

We drove on for a short distance before deciding that this was an opportunity that we would surely regret missing, so we returned to the local fire station, where the van was surrounded by a slow-moving crew that worked around the van with deliberation -- never breaking character as the resentful undead. (See more photos from the conference and the car wash on Flickr, and more about the giant globe we brought to the conference on BSU-EarthView.)

In reality, these are teenagers who are very much alive, participating with their parents and teachers in STEM education as part of the Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team (SMART 3930). The fundraiser at the fire station was in partnership with the American Red Cross and the Zombie Apocalypse preparedness program of the Centers for Disease Control.

While waiting for the van to be washed, we had the opportunity to talk with some of the community members about the geography conference we had just attended, and about some of the careers available to those studying geography. Disaster preparedness is, of course, one of the many areas to which geographers are well suited, especially as the spatial planning for emergency response increasingly relies on such geotechnologies as GIS, GPS, and climate modeling.

We would love to see some of these S.M.A.R.T. students in our geography classes at Bridgewater in the next couple of years!

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