Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Shenandoah University students and alumni have continued to gather, virtually, for game nights, with one game in particular drawing big online crowds: bingo.
“We feel that our virtual game nights are valuable because they let us interact with our alumni across the country who can’t normally attend in-person events on campus,” said Shenandoah Assistant Director of Donor & Alumni Relations (Marketing & Design) Harley Ryan. “Also, it’s great to see alumni and current students participate in activities together. And, honestly we have a lot of fun ourselves during the events. We love that we can give our alumni and students something they truly enjoy, that can be done in the comfort and safety of their own homes.”
Roseanne Dale Kokas ’84, of Round Rock, Texas, loves the camaraderie of the bingo events. For Kokas, who was always on the go and just retired from teaching after 32 years, virtual bingo was just what she needed. “I started playing bingo during COVID. For me, it was a safe way to socially interact in a group activity.”
Kara Gilpin ’23, began participating during her first year of studies at Shenandoah, and continues to do so because it is, quite simply, fun (and plenty of prizes are offered, too). Gilpin, a criminal justice major with minors in psychology and political science, said the virtual game allows players to use more than one bingo card, and it connects them with people who live in a host of different places. “For instance, I could be playing bingo with an SU graduate who lives in California while I am here in Virginia! The games absolutely inspire a sense of community because many people get together (virtually) at the same time for the same fun game. We gather from many different places such as California, North Dakota, Virginia, or maybe even outside the United States.”
Even though we are physically far apart, gathering virtually through a mutually loved game makes it seem like we are not really that far apart. Moreover, virtual bingo often has players from all different ages, from first-year students to those who graduated SU 40+ years ago!
– Kara Gilpin ’23
Pharmacy graduate student Anum Saqib ’23 started to play because virtual bingo seemed to provide a fun and safe break from schoolwork every once in a while. “It’s nice to look forward to a few quick rounds of bingo in the middle of stressing about school, so if I ever see a bingo night coming up, I put it on my schedule and study around that time,” said Saqib, who loves playing virtually by phone. “The games inspire a sense of community since we are rooting for our friends and classmates to win prizes. One day we had the physical therapy and pharmacy students playing bingo and there was so much cheering throughout the entire game.”