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Carolina Housing Resident Weeks by Chapel Thrill Escapes

August 24, 2023

By Sophia Raspanti

For those who are looking for an adventure, Carolina has you covered. Hidden in the basement of Cobb, nestled between Jackson Hall and Country Club Road, is the home of Chapel Thrill Escapes: a student-run, nonprofit organization dedicated to creating affordable and exciting entertainment for the Carolina Community.

Before meeting with Chief Executive Officer Riley Harper and Nolan Welch, the organization's Chief Operating Officer, I had only heard of escape rooms but never seen the inside. While I must remain relatively secretive, I can tell you that an afternoon or evening at Chapel Thrill Escapes is absolutely worth your time. It is incredibly clear from the moment you enter the room the immense work and dedication of the team has put forth. From unique puzzles to an acute attention to detail, the experience is unmatched. To add to Chapel Thrill Escapes’ growing list of accomplishments, it is also the first of its kind.

In 2018, two Morehead Cain scholars, Cam Champion and Philip Smart, founded the organization with the idea of creating a permanent escape room on campus that was completely created, maintained, and operated by Chapel Hill students. By 2019, the organization’s first room, The Belltower, was completed and students were welcomed to participate. However, shortly after their launch date, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a partial shutdown of the university, and students returned home to their families. However, Chapel Thrill Escapes did not close their doors completely. Under the leadership of Julia Dudick, the new CEO of the program, The Belltower became accessible to UNC Students virtually. To this day, The Belltower virtual escape room can be found on the organization’s website and is free to all students and community members.

As responses to the pandemic progressed, allowing students to return to on-campus life, Chapel Thrill Escapes opened its doors again with a new, unique, and creative room: Ramses in Wonderland. This semester, the organization hopes to entertain many new students in this 75-minute challenge. From August 31st to September 13th, Carolina Housing and Chapel Thrill Escapes have partnered to provide 560 time slots for on-campus residents to play with friends free of charge. Following the two-week period, Chapel Thrill has remained committed to its goal of affordable entertainment and offers discounted rates to on-campus residents. Looking towards the future, the team is excited to expand to Franklin Street, to provide an additional location with new rooms to meet increasing student and community interest.

I have been sworn to secrecy about the exact contents of Ramses in Wonderland, but I can let you in on a few things: an unbalanced centrifuge guaranteed to make fellow STEM students laugh and a mysterious Duke of Spades that is undoubtedly a swipe at our rival school’s mascot. Booking a time slot for an escape room experience is the easiest part: all you’ll need is your PID. Bookings ask for a minimum of 3 people, as you’ll need a clever team to escape in the allotted time, with a maximum of 8 individuals. The final question is up to you: can you escape?

Carolina Housing updates policies and protocols regularly. Information found within this blog may not reflect our current standards and procedures. If you have any questions, please contact Carolina Housing at for the most up to date information.

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