Universiteit Leiden

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Unlocking Diversity Awareness at FestiWell – through an Escape Room Game!

A group of postdoc and PhDs at our Focus on Emotions lab organized an escape room for staff and students to increase their awareness of diversity and accessibility matters. It was designed particularly for this year’s EUniWell FestiWell, which ran under the headline “Towards global sustainable well-being”. Leiden University, as a partner of the EUniWell (European University for Well-Being) hosted part of this cross-university festival on 13 May.

"Welcome to the lost and found office, where we take what's lost and make it found..." - this is the setting of our escape room, where players slip into the shoes of university lost-and-found-officers that embark on a rather unique detective mission to return a lost key to its owner. Of course, that involves cracking many locks, and in this case, getting acquainted with many snippets of information about diversity and accessibility.

After a month and a half of brainstorming, conceptualizing, building, testing and improving we finally did it: On the 13th of May, 3 groups of students and staff members played the game at FestiWell in Leiden and successfully "unlocked" their diversity awareness. According to their feedback (and the laughs they had during the game) it was fun, informative and just the right level of challenging - even for escape room newbies. And what's more, participants got to experience how we measure social contact between children on playgrounds first-hand, as they were given tags with RFID (proximity) sensors during the game and could see the results right after the session.

We're thankful for everyone who decided to give our escape room a go and provided lovely feedback, comments and ideas to us. We hope that we can continue to develop this experience for more occasions in the future. After all, there is no better way to learn than having fun!

The team: Yung-Ting (principal organizer, idea generator and builder), Claudia (idea generator, builder and in the role of "the secretary" at the lost-and-found office), Maedeh (idea generator, builder, master of sensors and tech support), Rachele (idea generator, builder and on-site support) and Kexin (escape room tester and on-site support).

More information about this year's FestiWell on their website EUniWell.eu

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