Escape Hampden-Sydney is an exciting and competitive event for students and HSC community members that first started in the 2015-16 academic year. Teams of four persons (mostly students, but faculty and staff are encouraged to participate) are placed into a room (located in the basement of the Bortz Library) where they must solve varying kinds of puzzles in order to complete a task and ‘escape’ the room within a limited amount of time (typically one hour). The puzzles range from logic puzzles to observational puzzles to ‘think outside the box’ puzzles. They are designed to reward thoughtful teamwork and offer an opportunity for students to be engaged in flexing their intellectual abilities outside of the classroom. The program is currently ongoing and has already been surprisingly successful in its infancy, attracting many students and community members to participate. Students from across the campus have or are forming teams (the current room is set to run through the academic year), and the hope of the Escape staff is to broaden the experiences of students and encourage them to think about courses and opportunities outside of their comfort zones.
Escape Hampden-Sydney is seeking additional funds to continue the event in future years. Since many students participate, new puzzles and themes must be developed from term to term to keep the event fresh and new. Specific short term needs include a camera, telephone work in the room, and some specialty items. Additional funding will allow us to improve the experience with new kinds of puzzles (utilizing more engaging props etc.) and other ‘bells and whistles.’ Students will be able to then attempt the room multiple times over during their undergraduate career at HSC. Work they have done in various courses can (and hopefully will with support) be reflected in the puzzle room. For instance, this spring teams of logic students were the first to attempt escape. Funding will also make possible specialty themes for other disciplines, pending faculty and staff support.