Student Life’s second escape room a success

David Saveanu

Staff Writer

Student Life put on another escape room this year last week, which organizers say was well-liked by the students that participated.

The escape room was organized by Campus Escapes, a company that sends performers all over the country to set up these interactive adventures.

Groups of about eight people would go into the room set up by the organizer, use tools around the room to solve puzzles, and ultimately complete the goal.

The story told in the escape room held at Parkland was called “The Mystery on Mount Olympus.”

The story entailed the participants being descendants of Greek gods trying to take over Mount Olympus before the gods returned to their thrones. The organizer was dressed up as Charon, whom in Greek mythology ferries people across the River Styx which separates the underworld from the world of the living.

During the game, he gave hints to help participants figure out the puzzles in exchange for gold coins, given to participants before the game began and found hidden in the room.

The puzzles ranged from deciphering codes to using black lights on the posters around the room to reveal hidden messages. The goal was to complete all the puzzles and ascend to the thrones of the Greek gods. If the participants failed to complete the goal, within the 25 minutes allotted, they would be “turned into animals” as described in the story.

The organizer of the escape room, The, has worked with Campus Escapes “since October” he explained. The says he started working there because it is nice to be around students.

“I’m a comedian, so I deal with a lot of surly, cynical type comedians, so it’s really cool to be around young people,” The says.

Campus Escapes puts on other scenarios as well that participants must escape from.

“I usually do another room called Philosopher,” The says.

Philosopher is a room that revolves around a group project for an introduction to philosophy class, where the member in charge of submitting a file turned in the wrong one, so the group must use clues around the room to get into the professor’s computer, and replace the incorrect file with the correct one.

Mystery on Mount Olympus was inspired by the Percy Jackson stories by Rick Riordan, The explains.

“This one specifically is a Percy Jackson type thing,” The says. “[Campus Escapes is] coming up with a lot of new ideas,” The said.

Currently the company is working on a space-themed escape room which it will take to campuses around the country.

The process for setting up the escape rooms is simple which makes it affordable and available to a multitude of campuses.

“The execution has been really great, its really simple to bring out these [puzzles], with limited space,” The said.

The says he loved being at Parkland, but found some aspects of setting up there challenging. 

“Parkland was great,” he said. “The campus is beautiful, with so much natural light. [But] we use dark spaces, and black lights so that was a little bit of a challenge.”

Chaya Sandler, Student Life’s Activities Program Manager, was the one who organized the escape room. She says they are well liked by students.

“This is the second time that Student Life has participated in an escape room style event,” Sandler said. “They’re really popular with students,” Sandler said.

She says the reason Parkland puts on escape rooms is so that students have easier access to them.

“We looked for a way for students to do it here on campus instead of having to go out into the Champaign-Urbana area,” Sandler stated.

Students participated in the event as part of clubs or just as groups of individuals who did not always know one another before going in.

“It was fun having student clubs, and students not participating in clubs, come join,” said Sandler.

Student Life tries to put on a variety of events, and is willing to bring back the event yearly, if the feedback is positive.

If you have ideas for events, like the escape room, contact Sandler at Student Life is always looking for opportunities to enrich the students’ experience, through fun and creative social activities, they say.