It was completely quiet. So quiet that all you could hear were the little taps of bingo chips hitting on the table as people nervously played with them. The tension in the room was clearly evident as every face was laser focused on the bingo card in front of them.
They were all at a moment’s notice. Every single person in the 1787 Room was ready to scream “BINGO,” all gunning for the large blue kayak sitting on the prize table.
In the blink of an eye, and one bingo ball later, a quiet hand was raised by Allison Lane amidst a chorus of frustrated groans from the crowd. The room fell silent as all the eyes focused on her.
Lane had just called BINGO.
After some confusion from the judges, however, it was announced that Lane’s friend, Taelor Paffen was the actual winner of the kayak.
“You know, it feels great. I did not expect it,” said Paffen with a shy, but obvious grin. She laughed with her friends wondering how she was going to transport the large object home.
“My car’s too small. Maybe I’ll just strap it somehow, with some tape,” she said.
The announcement put an end to a night that saw Castleton’s Campus Activities Board give away a 32-inch TV, sweatshirts, laundry detergent and countless other prizes big and small. It was a huge success for CAB.
But success has been the story of the semester so far for the group. It was a 77-student turnout at their first karaoke night of the year. Then it was a Boston Red Sox game that saw all 50 tickets sold within a two-week span. And now, the largest home-grown CAB event in a long time, a super bingo that saw 100-plus people show up and play.
In any form of entertainment, the people showing up need to be entertained. And that’s where CAB has thrived this year.
“Yeah, it’s a lot of fun,” said Kendra Ross, a regular at CAB events. “I get to hang out with all my friends, and Shaun Williams.”
Ross was in the middle of another home-grown CAB event, Trivia Night, hosted by AC Shaun Williams. “Shaun is the best,” laughed Ross.
And it isn’t just appealing to those who live on campus, with off-campus students saying it provides a nice way for them to socialize as well. “I do enjoy them. I live off campus, so it gives me something fun to do to be involved,” said Emily Keeler, a familiar face at Thursday’s homegrown events.
Keeler’s favorite event?
“Karaoke,” she says, “because I suck at singing and it’s okay to suck at karaoke.”
It isn’t just these two either. There’s Brendan Crowley, a sophomore who has garnered the nickname “The Atomic Blonde” for his electric karaoke performances. Or Paffen, who’s a regular at bingo nights. More and more students are becoming regulars at CAB events than ever before.
“Attendance,” declared Maddi Martin, the voice of Bingo Nights, “Attendance has been huge.”
But what has caused the sudden boom in event attendance? Advisor to the board, Matt Patry says it’s due to two factors.
“One is that I feel CAB has done a much better job of advertising their events. The other is we have a very large new class that has been quite receptive to the programs that we are doing,” Patry said.
First-year students have been the largest demographic of attendees at CAB events. They have also been a large part of the Campus Activities Board, which may be helping attendance. With a total of nine new faces on the board, CAB is thriving and full of new ideas and perspectives.
“I think it’s the same thing with every year, with new people you get fresher ideas, and you see what’s hippenin’ and happenin’,” said freshman board member Ryan Boeke.
They don’t just sit in on meetings though, they participate.
“I got involved because I thought it would be a cool experience to get involved on the campus and to have my input on what we should do for activities,” said Amanda Brault, another first-year on the board.
The involvement in the board meetings is only half of what they bring to the table though. They also love going to the events and making them a success.
“They are super enthusiastic, and we have a first-year class coming in that just loves to go out to the events and when they get to the events other first-years come and that brings other upperclassmen. And that creates these great environments that make our events so successful,” said Kaylee Boutin, who heads CAB.
Advertising was heavily stressed by Boutin coming into this fall semester. Whether it be online ads, posters, or by word of mouth, CAB has been spreading the news of their events around campus faster and farther than ever before.
Head of advertising, Jordan Perry, has been on top of her game this semester. As a first-year being put in charge of one of the largest jobs on CAB, she has risen to the occasion, according to Patry. Whether it’s printing and putting up posters, or just sending an email out to the campus, Perry has been keeping the school in the loop.
She isn’t alone, of course. She also has the full force of CAB behind her, as well has her advertising board. The board has been the driving force behind many of the successes that CAB has enjoyed.
“They are putting it out there electronically they are getting their signs up in a real timely fashion so that the other students are seeing them, and also the word of mouth campaign has been very strong,” said Patry.
CAB members just seem to have fun, wherever they go. The day before super bingo, many of the members went out to a storage facility to break some wood walls into firewood for a potential bonfire event. Halfway into the job it started to downpour on them.
But that didn’t stop them from having a good time smashing the wood outside. Boeke even took his shirt off and started posing with the sledgehammer they brought. The group is all smiles and laughs, no matter what is happening around them. And that energy carries over to the events they host.
Martin, the voice of bingo, is smiling from start to finish when calling out those numbers. She laughs at all the moans and groans from the crowd. Her jokes help keep the mood light when things look like they could get hostile.
And the many members of CAB are some of the most enthusiastic participants at events like karaoke.
“It’s fun. I like getting involved on campus I like being a part of different things. I like going to the events,” said Perry.
It’s a sentiment echoed by every other board member.
“I enjoy us making a difference in the school,” said CAB member Gabby Coons, “and I enjoy seeing people come to our events.”