Escape room to send participants back in time

Escape room to send participants back in time
Three-day passport program encourages students to explore East Campus

Jenny Thoegersen works on a puzzle in the C.Y. Thompson escape room on Aug. 28. The escape room, which will be open Aug. 30, was designed by Thoegersen and Erica DeFrain, both faculty in the University Libraries.
Troy Fedderson | University Communication
Jenny Thoegersen works on a puzzle in the C.Y. Thompson escape room on Aug. 28. The escape room, which will be open Aug. 30, was designed by Thoegersen and Erica DeFrain, both faculty in the University Libraries.

A pop-up escape room will send University of Nebraska–Lincoln students back in time to solve puzzles and learn about East Campus history.

Offered as part of “The Amazing Race — East Campus Style,” a three-day welcome back event that will introduce students to East Campus programs and facilities, the escape room was created by a group of library faculty and staff led by Jenny Thoegersen and Erica DeFrain, assistant professors in the University Libraries.

“We wanted to do something in conjunction with the back-to-school events and thought a public escape room would be a fun way to engage students, introduce them to C.Y. Thompson Library and let them learn a little university history,” Thoegersen said.

The story converts participants to time travelers who must solve a series of puzzles to repair a broken time machine. Each puzzle is based on a key event in the history of Nebraska’s East Campus.

“Essentially, participants must identify pivotal points in East Campus history to recalibrate the time machine,” Thoegersen said. “You must search the room for clues and solve the puzzles to escape. The entire thing is geared toward students and the campus community.”

This is the second escape room Thoegersen has developed. The other room was zombie themed and offered through the Nebraska City Public Library.

The East Campus escape room will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 30 in C.Y. Thompson Library. The maximum size for a group in the room is six participants. Each group has 20 minutes to repair the time machine and successfully escape the scenario.

The room will be reset every 30 minutes. Organizers will start accepting reservations for the escape room at 10 a.m. Aug. 30 in C.Y. Thompson Library.

Each student who is part of a group that successfully completes the room within the 20-minute time limit will be entered into a drawing for a $20 gift certificate to the University Bookstore. Five prizes will be awarded.

“We’ve had a lot of fun designing a room that is fun and challenging while also being informative,” Thoegersen said. “This is going to be an interesting and creative way to engage with students in the chaos that is the start of a new semester.”

By participating in the escape room, students will also receive a stamp on a passport that is part of the “Amazing Race — East Campus Style” event.

Offered Aug. 29-31, the passport program is designed to educate students about offerings on East Campus. Students who complete the program requirements, which include participating in activities and receiving passport stamps at various campus locations, will be entered to win prizes.

Passports are available at the Recreation and Wellness Center, C.Y. Thompson Library, Office of Student Involvement, Larsen Tractor Museum, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Dean’s Office, and the Union Crossing snack shop in the East Union.

To be entered into the prize drawing, students should return passports to the Union Crossing snack shop by midnight Aug. 31. There is no minimum or maximum number of stamps needed to enter the drawing. All entries will receive a coupon for two free hours of bowling at Lanes ‘N Games in the East Union.

Other prizes include gift cards of $50 and $20.

Passport activities and stamp locations include:

Rec and Wellness Center

  • Students can get passports stamped each of the three days. Activities include a questionnaire/scavenger hunt which is available at the front desk.

C.Y. Thompson Library

  • Escape Room, noon to 6 p.m., Aug. 30. Teams of four to six participants recommended.

  • Word scramble while viewing architect renderings of the C.Y. Thompson Learning Commons, noon to 6 p.m., Aug. 30

  • Passports can also be stamped by completing a question sheet avaialble at the circulation and reference desk. The question sheet will be available each of the three passport program days.

Larsen Tractor Museum

  • Passport stamps will be available each of the three days

CASNR Dean’s Office

  • Passport stamps will be available each of the three days. Students can also earn an ice cream coupon by taking a photo in the office.

Student Involvement

  • Passport stamps will be available each of the three days

Massengale Residential Center

  • A movie, selected by a vote of students, will be shown at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 31 in the Massengale Residential Center courtyard.