SAB’s escape room event challenges students, ‘builds community’


Students escape from a mobile Escape Room on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. 

Addison Lander

The UK Student Activities Board hosted an Escape Room event Monday evening that gave students an opportunity to take a break from the madness of the approaching holiday season (and with it, the promise of more exams and projects), by bringing a popular puzzle-based cooperative experience to campus.

It was quite a popular event, as several groups appeared, interested in testing their abilities in both solving puzzles and and working together as a team. 

The mobile escape rooms were brought to UK through a business called Phantom Entertainment. Rob Weibley, the general manager of the company, said the company has been in operation for the past 35 years, although the mobile escape rooms have only been offered to its clients for the past year. 

Despite their newness, Weibley spoke of their popularity. 

“[The mobile escape rooms] are probably one of the most requested items,” he said.

He said they are booked multiple times a week for their main clients, various college campuses, spanning the entire east coast of the United States. 

Phantom Entertainment is based out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where each mobile escape room is custom-built using many of the same elements one might find in a brick-and-mortar escape room. Currently, they have six mobile escape rooms in operation, with numbers seven and eight expected to be completed in January.

The rooms take between one and two months from the start of the design process to the completion of the final product to be ready for groups to experience, and they take about an hour to set up. “Immunity Outbreak,” one of the three escape rooms available for students at the event, made its debut at the UK, having been completed only four weeks prior to the event.

Phantom Entertainment does more than just mobile escape rooms, however, as they also have everything from mobile zip lines and inflatables to paintball; the latter is set to make an appearance at UK sometime in the spring.

Jonathan Meredith, a freshman majoring in biochemistry, attended the event and managed to escape one of the rooms with his group. He said this was not his first escape room, and that he would be interested in participating in this event again in the future.

“It was definitely a lot of fun. I love working with a team and being intellectually challenged,” Meredith said.

He went on to speak of why events like this are so beneficial.

“They challenge people to work together, to meet new people and to foster new relationships,” he said. “We’re all students, we’re all UK.”

Deebha Adhikari, a sophomore majoring in public health on the pre-dental route, was working at the front desk for SAB. This is her first year serving with the SAB, and she holds the role of Chair of Traditions, a title given to the head of a committee that oversees events that are regularly held at UK. While distributing release waivers, Adhikari discussed her motivations for being there.

“The events are just really fun, and I just love volunteering,” Adhikari said.

She pointed out the various board games placed throughout the room and said those were provided by the Student Activities Board in an attempt to keep the fun going for groups waiting for their number to be called. Among the games provided were giant Uno, Twister, Sorry, Guess Who? and Jenga.

Adhikari said SAB hosts events like this for two reasons. 

“It builds community, first off. Second of all, it provides a close location for students [to attend these events].”