B-I-N-G-O SPELLS RELIEF DURING FINALS
Most people associate bingo with senior citizens, church basements, and pot roasts. But at Haverford, the game takes on a newâ€”and deliciousâ€”life of its own.
Sponsored by Fords Against Boredom (FAB), a student-run organization that plans free social events during the school year, Ben & Jerry's Bingo has become a finals week tradition at Haverford. Since its debut in the fall of 2000, an average of 150 students have played each semester. The winter game kicks off exam week Dec. 15, providing students with much-needed relief from end-of-the-semester stress.
“People really look forward to it,” says Amy Ham, student activities coordinator.“It's an opportunity to socialize and win cool prizes that could be used as holiday gifts.”
The evening starts in the Dining Center's east wing with the ice cream, where students are served bowls of Ben & Jerry's staples: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Mint Chocolate Cookie, Phish Food. After a half hour of snacking and chatting, the players grab bingo cards and chips (in this case, M&Ms) and hunker down for eight to 10 rounds of the game. Past prizes have included gift certificates to the Haverford bookstore, King of Prussia Mall, and local restaurants, board games, videos and DVDs, and movie ticket gift packs to Philadelphia's Ritz Theaters.
“Finals week can be incredibly stressful, but people generally aren't on as tight a schedule as during the regular year,” says Spencer Walters '05, a member of FAB and co-coordinator of Bingo.“B&J Bingo is an event students can write into their schedules as a study break, giving them both structure during exam week and a time for fun.”
It's common these days for colleges and universities to offer finals week activities that allow students to escape the pressure of exams and papers. Ham hears stories from student activities directors at other schools of massages, bowling,“moon bounces,” and arts and crafts. In addition to hosting Bingo, Haverford's FAB has also distributed cookies and milk at midnight to sweet-craving students.
But it's Ben & Jerry's Bingo that remains most popular among the frazzled Fords facing finals.“Students tell me that it's a nice, relaxing, low-stress event,” says Ham.