With green cards in hand and a hopeful look in their eyes, 953 students crowded the Student Recreation to participate in Grocery Bingo on Sept. 19.
Grocery Bingo is a biannual event hosted by Student Activities Council where students compete in rounds of bingo to win free bags of assorted grocery items.
The amount of students in attendance rivaled any Grocery Bingo attendance before.
Sophomore Levi Mueller was the first winner for Grocery Bingo and was congratulated by a round of applause from other Northwest students.
“I’m feeling ecstatic about the win,” Mueller said. “I’m excited for the free food and gift cards. It’s awesome.”
After the applause settled, the frustration began to set in with students.
“I was one away from winning,” freshman Jeffrey Sykes said. “Every single game, I just needed one more number.”
Sykes did not shy away from showing his frustration over the bingo game, yelling until his face was red. Being the only one at his table of friends who did not win consistently drove Sykes to shake his fist at the bingo card, looking for an answer to his misfortune.
“Knowing I was the only one who hadn’t won anything was hard to take in,” Sykes said. “That made me the most angry at the time.”
Sykes would go on to win his free groceries after initially giving up on his chances of winning.
“I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t winning and decided to have a friend play for me,” Sykes said. “Next thing I know, they are screaming that I won, and I felt like a legitimate king.”
Sykes was seen yelling with his arms raised in joy as he sprinted to wait in line for his prize. While Sykes was one of the fortunate few, others were not so lucky. To combat this, SAC offered other chances for students to win prizes if bingo was not their game.
SAC featured a dance contest for prizes and other giveaways to provide students more opportunities to leave with something in hand.
Due to the competitive nature, there ended up being two winners of the dance contest.
“I was just like ‘Wow, this is crazy.’ I thought I was going to get more groceries, but this was really cool,” dance contest winner Vitaliy Tsytsyk said.
Tsytsyk said he used Ukranian dance moves and improvisation to take home a win during the dance competition.
SAC partnered with Hy-Vee this year for all of their groceries and most of their gift cards. Grocery Bingo was supplied by Walmart and Hy-Vee last year, but decided to partner with Hy-Vee due to budgeting.
SAC did not partner with UPD this year, as budgeting did not allow for UPD to offer a large prize for students.
“The money just wasn’t there this year,” University Police Chief Clarence Green said. “But I think they will be happy with the free food tonight.”
After offering a moped as a prize last year, students were upset at not being able to potentially win a moped this year.
“I was really only here for a moped,” sophomore Desmond Edwards said. “I was really disappointed, but they should offer a car next time to make up for it.”
SAC did offer an iPad Pro and Beats Headphones as prizes, as well as various gift cards and groceries throughout the event.
Grocery Bingo has been a tradition at Northwest for students to test their luck at a classic game in hopes of bringing home free groceries.