Pop-up escape room to raise money, and awareness for Ottawa’s marginalized populations. Photo: CC, pixabay.
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Charity bringing pop-up escape room to U of O campus

This winter, University of Ottawa students will have the opportunity to escape what is likely a nightmare scenario for many—being falsely detained by campus protection upon realizing that they will not be able to graduate on time.

From Feb. 25 to March 1, students will get to live out this scenario when CAUSE tutoring—a not-for-profit organization with a significant U of O volunteer base—begins to run its pop-up escape room fundraiser in Lamoureux Hall.

“We decided to host the Escape Room as a fun, interactive way to engage University of Ottawa students to be a part of CAUSE Tutoring’s mission,” Kaitlyn Rourke, one of the event’s organizers, and a fourth-year biomedical science student, told the Fulcrum in an email.

“Our team was trying to think of unique ideas for Escape Rooms that we hadn’t seen before—(and) we thought escaping from detention was a creative concept that fit perfectly with our location at the University of Ottawa,” Rourke continued. “We also wanted to revive a bit of elementary school narrative; escaping from detention before recess is over, but with a university twist!”

CAUSE tutoring’s mission statement is to help vulnerable populations in Ottawa and Toronto by offering free one-on-one tutoring sessions for a range of subjects.

“CAUSE provides free, on-site tutoring to marginalized populations, overcoming barriers such as cost, mobility, accessibility and transportation,” Rourke explained. “The money (raised by the fundraiser) goes towards supporting tutoring programs as well as the organisation as a whole.”

Indeed, while Rourke maintained that raising money was an important goal of the upcoming escape room, she explained that it was not the only purpose of the event.

The first goal (of their fundraiser) is to raise awareness on the education barriers marginalized populations in Ottawa face today,” she said. “Many homeless shelter residents are lacking a university or high school diploma, making it difficult to exit the homelessness cycle.”

“In addition, for those who decide to pursue a diploma, they often face stigmas and stereotypes adding to their personal challenges—this problem is pervasive even in Ottawa, and it is important for students to be aware of.”

While many volunteers and members of the board of executives at the organization are current and former U of O students, CAUSE tutoring is looking to expand its base outside of the university—and looking to set up another chapter at the University of Toronto.

In the interim, however, the organizers are looking ahead to the escape room fundraiser—which poses a relatively difficult challenge to students.

“As an avid Escape Room goer, I would give this escape room 3.5-4 (out of) 5 (in terms of difficulty),” said Rourke. “You need to think quick on your feet and be creative to escape the horrendous dean’s punishment. We are aiming for a challenging but feasible and pleasant experience.”

Tickets for the escape room are $15 per person, and can be bought online. Teams can be made up of 4-6 people, and are asked to arrive 15 minutes before their appointment. More information can be found on the fundraiser’s website.


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