The Escape Room Club is a student organization at Iowa State that studies and creates escape rooms. With around 50 official members, the club visits local escape rooms and creates new ones during the school year. 

The club was founded in the spring of 2019 by Sundar Shivraj, a junior majoring in computer science and the club's current president. However, the club didn't officially start until the fall of 2020. 

"I have been a fan of escape rooms since my sophomore year of high school," Shivraj said. "I designed my own in high school and thought it would be a fun thing to do in college as well." 

Shivraj's love for escape rooms is a common theme among members. 

"During the club fest I saw the club… I was already drawn to it," commented Jordan King, a sophomore in the pre-architecture program and a new club member. "I love puzzles and I love doing escape rooms. I was really looking for something to do and when I saw it, it was the best one."

During the first semester of the school year, the Escape Room Club visits rooms in the Ames area, including No Escape Iowa in Ames, the Escape Rooms in Ankeny and Breakout Games in Des Moines. 

Jian Janes, a sophomore majoring in computer security engineering and the vice president of the Escape Room Club, said, "Our original plan … is our first semester would be all about visiting escape rooms…That would allow people to kinda experience what it is. Then we would have some more lesson-based things."

Once the club has been to a few escape rooms, they work to create and build one. They start with a plan that includes a story idea or theme for the room. This means brainstorming ideas and narrowing them down before figuring out what type of puzzles will fit into the story being told in the room.

"I see it as a choose-your-own-adventure with that facet of escaping," explained Shivraj. "I love storytelling, and so escape rooms is another creative way I can express a story to someone in a medium they want to engage in."

After a story or theme has been found and puzzles created, the room is built and others are invited to try it.

The Escape Room Club built a virtual escape room last year, and the club plans to build a physical escape room next semester.

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