Jailbreak 2014 came to a close last weekend and so far over €40,000 has been raised for St. Vincent de Paul and Amnesty International. Of the approximately ninety teams that took part, 14 came from UCD, and collectively participants travelled a cumulative distance of 191,520km from their starting points in either Dublin or Cork.
The competition was won by Team #15: Salim Sebaoui and Kyryll Chulak from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) who reached Sydney, Australia, a distance of 17, 223km from their start point in Dublin. Of the UCD contingent, Catherine Macfarlane and Denis Wickstone travelled the furthest distance, reaching Jamaica.
Teams that compete in Jailbreak have to raise money for both their selected charity and also raise money to pay their travel expenses, with the overall challenge being to travel as far away as possible from your campus in 36 hours. Teams have taken a variety of different approaches to do this according to Caoimhín Ó Madagain, Auditor of the UCD St Vincent de Paul Society (UCDSVP).
Some students directly asked airlines, buses and trains for free transport at their service desk, and Ó Madagain says a small proportion of these students were successful.
According to Clare Cryan, committee member of UCDSVP, students had more success with ferries and trains when it came to getting travel expenses waived.
“A lot of the people who were really able to blag their way were people who went to the ferries. The ferries were really accommodating in terms of just letting people on. The flights, I think, were a bit more difficult. But the ferries and trains, it’s easier to sweet talk people there and say, ‘Go on, sure. Let us on for free.’”
Other students resorted to fund-raising directly at airports. Tom Williams, a third year engineering student in UCD, and one half of Team Tom and Trisha, says that people who played guitar or tin whistle were most successful.
Williams explains that students who didn’t engage in busking found that their fundraising efforts were initially less successful.
Other teams secured corporate sponsorship before travelling and booked their flight in advance. Sponsors ranged from Cadbury and Tolteca to Pantibar.
Clare Cryan recalls one of the more memorable incidents to happen to a team who reached Munich. “Two lads in Munich on a Saturday night and they were stopped by the Bavarian police at one point and almost strip-searched. They ended up going to this party of some European royal and were kicked out.
“They were then on a train to the airport, trying to get a flight to Istanbul the next day. They were shattered, fell asleep and missed their stop, [and] missed their flight.”