A look at the enduring popularity of the game on campus.
Do you remember calling out “Bingo!” in the Dining Commons? Or, if you weren't one of the lucky winners, maybe you have fond memories of gathering with friends in the College Center just to play the popular game?
While there isn’t an official record of when the first bingo game was held on campus, it has grown into somewhat of a tradition at Stonehill. A Summit edition from December 6, 1973, announces bingo at the College Center, and the 1974 ACRES yearbook displays several photos of the campus activity.
Since she started at Stonehill in 2007, Lina Macedo, associate director for campus programs, has been the official "caller"—the game host who announces the randomly selected numbers. “It is a staple here and has grown exponentially over the years,” explains Macedo.
Spreading the Word
Advertisement for bingo night in The Summit from December 6, 1973.
An early look at bingo from the 1974 ACRES yearbook. Today, Bingo is often played with digital boards.
A photo from the 1974 ACRES yearbook shows students playing the popular game.
While traditional bingo calls for paper cards and a handful of circular chips, today’s version is often played digitally with players accessing their boards on their phones, laptops or iPads.
Monthly bingo is typically held on a Friday night in the Roche Dining Commons, but there are also special bingo events throughout the year. Family Weekend bingo always attracts a large crowd. But the fan favorite and “biggest event of the year,” according to Macedo, is Christmas bingo, where students, wearing their favorite holiday or Stonehill apparel, pack Commons A on a Saturday evening in early December.
The Christmas bingo tradition draws a big crowd. [Photos in this row, from 2018.]
Dressed for the Occasion
Students wear their favorite holiday-themed or Stonehill apparel for the activity held in the Roche Dining Commons.
While bingo is often now played digitally, cards and chips are still sometimes used.
One of the reasons for the game’s popularity is the chance to win a prize—such as an Amazon gift card, video game or concert tickets—for those who are first to shout "Bingo!" (And if multiple people call bingo at once, a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors determines the winner.)
Members of the Student Government Association Programming Committee—the group that sponsors the activity—select the prize options and are the bingo "lookouts," verifying winning boards.
The prizes, though, aren’t the only draw. Macedo admits it might sound ridiculous that, with so many devices vying for students' attention today, bingo continues to be such a popular activity. “When you think of bingo," she says, "you maybe think of a game played in a church basement.”
But bingo’s appeal is real. “It is one of our most consistently attended activities,” says Macedo, who was recently recognized for her meaningful contributions to student life at Stonehill by the National Association for Campus Activities. “It is super simple, it occupies your time, and you get to be with friends, just playing a game.”
Avid Stonehill bingo player Jacki Sauer ’23 agrees with this sentiment. "Bingo to me means family. It's fun to sit with your friends as the thrill of almost winning crashes over you each round," she says. "I love the overall positive yet competitive energy in the room. Bingo at Stonehill is where I've met some of my closest friends, and it's a tradition that keeps our friendship strong."