While the month of March was shortened with spring break, the Truman
State University Up to Us team was hard at work planning a campus-wide
event to foster community on campus, and make students aware of the
state of the national debt. Up to Us is a student led initiative that
takes place on campuses throughout the United States to educate
students about economic concerns, and uses a national pledge to allow
students to voice concerns about the nation’s debt. On the evening of
March 19-20, escape room challenges were created on Truman’s campus
with free admission and free snacks for students. Upon arrival to the
‘Can You E$cape’ challenge, attendees were informed of the storyline of
the escape room that the economy had just collapsed and they were
locked within the Federal Reserve needing to solve a series of clues to
get out of the government lockdown. |
In preparation for this event, a Facebook Event was used for students
to sign up on campus and learn more about the Up to Us initiative.
Physical advertisements were created prior to the event and hung in
residence halls and academic buildings. In the residence halls, large
posters with fake money were hung in locations with high foot-traffic.
Additionally, Up to Us utilized the campus radio service to advertise,
hoping to gain interest of students travelling on spring break.
Together, Up to Us team members created the clues for the escape room
based upon resources from the Up to Us website. Flyers and an article
were incorporated into the escape room puzzles. Participants had to
read this materials and then decipher the clues from the information
provided to eventually escape the room. Also, they created a script
that was used to set the scene of the escape room. In this script, fun
facts were included about the national debt, such as it’s impact on the
average family’s income in 2047.
Six rooms on campus were prepared and each one given to a staff member
to run throughout the night. Groups were given the storyline in an
informative walk-through of the ‘Federal Reserve’ tour. In going to the
room, attendees were told that they were in the year 2047, and asked
questions about the past such as the debt amount of the United States
in 2018. Upon entering the rooms, an alarm went off and teams were
informed that they were "locked” in.
On the walls, Up to Us flyers were placed for teams to read through
with clues leading them to a key hidden under the computer keyboard to
unlock a box with a digit of the escape code. They also had to find a
blacklight from underlined words in a printed article about the
national debt to read a lock passcode. To escape the room and return to
the year 2018, members had to give one last three digit code to the
room staff, 269, relating to the $269 billion the United States spends
alone on national debt interest. In conclusion, attendees enjoyed being
challenged with friends and learning about the economy through the
process in a fun and educational way.
What is most impressive is that the team of ten members were able to
pull off a large-scale event catering to 68 Truman State University
students who arrived over the two nights. The effort put in by the Up
to Us team highlights their drive for campus advocacy and teamwork.
Without every member bought in to the project, the team would have been
unable to create the positive escape room experience for students
during the month of March.
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