Along with Anniek, a master student in Innovation Management, and Aditi, a third-year student in International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics, Erasmus Magazine’s reporter Amber van Workum tested the escape room. This was Anniek’s first time, so she didn’t know what to expect. Aditi, on the other hand, expected a minimal effort. Let’s see how that turned out.
The escape room is part of the Rotterdam School of Management’s (RSM) positive change initiative. It focuses on Sustainable Development Goal number 12: responsible consumption and production. This topic was chosen by students, who felt that the subject was very recognisable for students.
The game touches on three themes: plastic, clothing and cardboard. You can see the themes everywhere, because the walls are entirely covered with plastic bottles, old t-shirts, cardboard boxes and more. Unfortunately, we were stuck in the cardboard part of the game when our time was up. We started off too slowly, distracted by annoying sounds coming from the speakers. Aditi was disappointed. “In the end, I got so competitive and I really wanted to win the game. But even though we didn’t finish the game, it was really nice. I learned a lot about how our daily activities might impact on developing countries for instance.”
Anniek agrees. “The game is a fun way to learn about bad facts. Ultimately, it makes you think about your own consumption, because some of the facts were really shocking.” The puzzles you have to solve are based on facts about consumption and production. However, the facts are presented in an innovative way (we literally had to fish for some of the clues), which makes it a fun way to learn.
The director of RSM’s positive change initiative, Eva Rood, talks about the role of students in the development of the escape room. “During a brainstorm session to come up with fun ways to achieve our goals, one student suggested making an escape room. The students were also the ones who researched the facts for the escape room, and student assistants monitor it.”
Vladislav Vershinin, brand manager of RSM, was involved in the building process of the escape room. “One of the key requirements concerned the materials. 85 percent of the room is made from recycled materials that we’ve collected ourselves.” So not only does the escape room teach you about responsible consumption and production, it is also built in a responsible way.
If you finish the game in time, you get an extra game to play. Trainee Neel van Roessel doesn’t want to spoil the surprise but does reveal the theme. “In the additional game, you play the government, and you have to try to save the planet.” Because we didn’t finish the game within the hour, we couldn’t play this extra game. Perhaps some of the next players will; the escape room will be open to everyone until at least 2030. To play the escape room, you need to make a free reservation on the RSM website. The escape room is open from Monday to Friday, with six games a day, starting at 9.30.
In the end, Anniek enjoyed the experience of her first escape room ever. Although she looked really lost at the beginning, she ended up looking for clues in every spot we could think of. “It was quite hard to solve some of the puzzles, but I really enjoyed doing it.” Even though Aditi was disappointed that we lost, she also really enjoyed the game. “I didn’t expect it to have special effects and to learn so much, but it ended up being really cool.”