SAU Buzz

Escape room trend hits SAU

by Abbey Nimrick
Posted on Apr 27, 2017

Locked in Lewis Hall’s Potions Laboratory with only a few friends, you have to decipher clues to unlock boxes and find your way out in only 60 minutes. Can you escape in time?

St. Ambrose University hosted their first ever escape room, put on by the Cosgrove RAs as well as some of the Davis RA staff.

“We had a trial run with one group and they said it was a lot of fun and challenging,” Carissa Origer, Cosgrove resident assistant and event planner said.

Origer said she has gone to a couple different escape rooms and thought it would be cool to try and make one for her residents as a program.

Cosgrove RA Morgan Krieger said escape rooms have become a popular activity.

“Especially popular among college-aged people,” Krieger said, “because it is both actively and mentally challenging.”

Before Origer even presented the idea to the rest of the Cosgrove RA staff, she came up with the theme, clues and how to go about escaping. They then bought all the supplies, props and began advertising for the event.

“I ordered a lot of lock boxes and padlocks from Amazon that some of the clues would be hidden in,” Origer said. “The other props that are used are more for decoration or to throw people off from the clues and those just include posters and other containers that may or may not be used for a clue.”

She used inspiration based on some of the clues she has seen in previous escape rooms that she has been to as well as coming up with some clues on her own.

Origer tried to base the decorations and clues to fit with the theme, a Harry Potter potions classroom.

Krieger said they painted recycled bottles to make decorative potion bottles.

On top of decor, they also tried to make the room fit the theme as best as possible as well.

“We chose Lewis 001 because we are hoping to have a creepy chemistry, and potions themed room,” Origer said.

During the event on April 7 and 8, the RAs’ work continued.

“We will have someone sitting inside the escape room to give out two clues when asked for, make sure people are on the right track for escaping and to make sure no one cheats while inside the room (because that would take the fun out of it),” Origer said.

After only one week, due to high demand and limited availability, the escape room reached its capacity.

They had 15 groups go through, consisting of 96 Ambrose students. Four of these groups escaped in time, resulting in a 27% escape rate.

“I compared this to other escape rooms escape rates which can range between 20-40%,” Origer said. “I was happy that our escape room rate fell within that range. I wanted the escape room to be challenging, but not too easy where everyone could escape.”

One group escaped in only 38 minutes.

Origer enjoyed putting on the event and hopes to host another escape room next year.