California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Cal lu fills escape room

On Oct. 25-26, the Associated Students California Lutheran University Government (ASCLUG) hosted a drop-in at the Excido Escape Room in Moorpark, California.

With midterms around the corner, ASCLU Programs Board wanted to give students an opportunity to take a break from studying and get their minds off exams.

“It gives students a fun thing to do with their friends,” said Vianca Castaneda, a junior representative of Programs Board. “They don’t know each other in that kind of setting so it’s an interesting experience for them.”

Programs Board hosted an on-campus escape room last fall. Due to positive feedback, members of Programs Board wanted to bring the thrill of the escape room back to the Cal Lutheran community.

To provide students with an off-campus experience, Programs Board contacted Jeremy Zeller, owner of Excido Escape Rooms.

The Excido Escape Room is the first escape room located in Ventura County and includes three individual rooms – the cabin, the music studio and Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. Each escape room consists of interactive puzzles designed to act as a live-action mystery where players are “locked” inside.

In order to escape, players must locate clues and solve a series of puzzles in a time limit of 45 minutes. If players fail to escape before time is up, they will be rescued by staff and “go home in shame,” Zeller said.

A total of 72 Cal Lutheran students attended the drop-in, with 24 students completing one of the three rooms of their choice. The allocated budget for the event was $1,500.

“As a board, we come up with a budget for each specific event that we are planning for the year. We all take a vote on it to make sure we’re okay and that’s how we got it,” sadPrograms Board Director Samantha Schindler.

The groups within each room varied from six to eight people. Students had to sign up quickly as there were limited spaces available. Within days of the sign-up announcement, all slots were filled.

“The college students who come really enjoy it,” Zeller said, “All of the rooms have puzzles that come from different perspectives so everyone can have something to work.”

As for the production of the escape rooms themselves, Zeller said it is a lengthy process and he, along with his co-owner, put an extensive amount of effort to create a satisfying and enjoyable experience.

“We do a lot of research to come up with smart, engaging and logical puzzles,” Zeller said. “We create the whole rooms, come up with the theme, source materials for the rooms and then we build the puzzles ourselves.”

Zeller said participants in escape room environments learn more about themselves and those around them. He also said one of the key benefits of doing an escape room is learning what one’s strengths and weaknesses are.

“When you work in a team, some people will see a puzzle in a different perspective and they may catch on to something faster than you. Similarly, you may see a puzzle immediately and your friends don’t see it at all,” Zeller said.

Dan Cleveland, an escape room owner in Atlanta, Georgia, said escape rooms offer participants several psychological and educational benefits. In an article written by Cleveland on his business website, he says puzzles encountered while in an escape room help develop essential mental functions including improved memory, enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills.

“While it is easier for most people to tackle a problem by breaking it down into smaller, easier pieces, Escape Room challenges generally require participants to look at the problem from both a micro and macro level simultaneously,” Cleveland said.

In a follow-up email interview, Schindler said students enjoyed the escape room and would do it again if given the chance.

Cal Lutheran junior Taylor Netter attended had never done an escape room prior to the event. She expected it to be scary, but was surprised to see it was more about finding clues and recognizing patterns.

“I worked well with the people I was with. We were all working on our own thing while working on the general idea together,” Netter said.

Schindler said the next board can decide if they want to repeat a similar drop-in. Students who missed the drop-in should keep a lookout for a potential escape room opportunity next fall.

Christie Kurdys
Reporter

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