Campus Life

Bingo offers students in isolation and quarantine fun, engagement

Lee Kump, the John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, left, reads off a bingo number with his wife Michelle. To support students in isolation and quarantine at the University Park campus, the Kumps proposed a weekly bingo night via Zoom for the students. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — B15 … B3 … B11 … I17 … G60 … O62 … 067 … O70 — BINGO!

The sounds of people clapping and cheering aren’t something normally associated with students residing in quarantine and isolation, but a new Thursday night tradition is starting to take root to help Penn State students through their quarantine and isolation time at the University Park campus.

“We didn’t want to just host a game — we wanted to do something that was fun, enjoyable and surprising,” said Lee Kump, the John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Kump, along with his wife Michelle, pitched Housing and Food Services and Residential Life, the offices that manage the quarantine and isolation space at Eastview Terrace, the idea of doing a bingo night via Zoom to support students in quarantine and isolation.

With a green light, the couple went to work, enlisting a few University leaders to serve as celebrity guest callers, including Penn State President Eric Barron, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour and Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims.

“Students were really getting into it through the chat,” Lee said. “The chat kept expanding and expanding. They were cheering for their building or their floor. They were teasing Sandy or even President Barron in some cases. It was lighthearted and a break from the mundane.”

Accompany the guest callers were a bevy of prizes for the participants. During their time volunteering to shuttle food, medicine and packages to students in quarantine and isolation, the Kumps noted which local eateries were most popular among the students and asked them for donations. Food vendors including Chipotle, Fiddlehead, Home D Pizzeria, Honeybaked Ham, Panda Express and Panera Bread provided gift cards that were used as prizes.

Michelle said, “Sandy brought in a football that was signed by Coach [James] Franklin for her bingo — that was the prize — and it was a surprise. The students went wild.”

Lee said, “There was a lot in the chatroom — ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ They were really intent on that game.”

It was a Nelson Hall resident who held the lucky combination of B15, B3, B11, I17, G60, O62, O67, O70 that ultimately netted him the much-coveted signed football. 

Sandy Barbour, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, was among the guest callers during the Zoom-based bingo nights for students in quarantine and isolation at University Park campus. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Barbour said she was delighted to support the students in quarantine and isolation. “In the midst of a very challenging time for these students, I am always happy to lend a hand to help bring a moment or two of normalcy and levity.” 

Sims agreed. “Opportunities in which I am able to connect and engage with students — particularly within relaxed and informal environments — is always a highlight in my role. Seeing students enjoy themselves amid the very challenging circumstances of this semester demonstrates their tenacity and the strength of the Penn State spirit. I was pleased to participate in the event and deeply grateful for the thoughtfulness and generosity of Lee and Michelle Kump, whose commitment to our students is exceptional.”

The Kumps said the bingo games will continue over the next few weeks until on-campus students leave for the Thanksgiving break and classes shift to remote learning after Nov. 20.

Deans from other academic colleges have joined as guest callers, with the Kumps continuing to host. Hari Osofsky, dean of Penn State Law, and Kimberly Lawless, dean of the College of Education, were the guest callers this past week, along with a surprise appearance by former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley.

This week, Laurie Badzek, dean of the College of Nursing, and Tracy Langkilde, dean of the Eberly College of Science, will serve as guest callers.

“We appreciate that these students who are in Q&I did the right thing,” Lee said. “They came in and got tested when they were symptomatic, or participated in asymptomatic testing, did the right thing and placed themselves in quarantine and isolation. It’s not fun. We appreciate that they’ve done the right thing and we want to make it as fun as we can, at least give them a fun break in the day.”


Last Updated November 04, 2020