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Campus Preacher Bingo


Activity Overview:
Are pesky campus preachers usurping precious academic mind share from your fellow college students? Are they filling the air with various forms of hate speech and bad science inciting painful feelings? You can fight them back with the fun and easy activity of campus preacher bingo! Campus Preacher Bingo is a game where you use a bingo-like card or sheet of paper but instead of having random numbers, there are the random phrases typically said by campus preachers. Sometimes the best way to deal with these kind of people is with humor and a lot of fun. Campus Preacher Bingo is a great and effective response to your favorite regular campus preacher.

     Members from Illini Secular Student Alliance playing Brother Jed Bingo.

Planning timeframe:
Planning for this event should take less than a week. However there may be more planning involved if you want a custom bingo matrix for a specific preacher. Additionally, if you need to reserve space on campus for this activity, consider how long that will take. Some campus preachers keep a schedule online so you can know when to expect them.

If you're going for a big event, have an announcer. This person should know all the random phrases that are available to be marked off on the bingo card. They need to be able to pay attention to everything that is said and be audible in an open public space. Alternatively, you can simply hand out bingo cards to the crowd with some instructions on the cards.

It is recommended that each group develop their own rules, since the phrase may never actually be randomly said by the preacher, you might want to allow specific questions or other types of provocations to be used in order to get certain words. Let your members know ahead of time what is allowed and what is not.

It might be a good idea to have at least two coordinators to help with all of this. One can even hold up a large sign detailing all the phrases that have been said so far just in case some people want to jump in the game late. 

 Sign to accompany the preacher bingo at Indiana University.

Material requirements:
If you choose to have a large bingo display you'll needposter board, cardboard, crayons, markers, construction paper, letter paper, glitter, etc. Check with your student activities office for what resources are available through your university (you paid for these resources after all, you might as well use them). You'll also need tape, a marker, a bunch of bingo printouts (check below) and various prizes. You might also want to bring business cards or group flyers for any passersby. Chances are there will be many people gathering there who are not a part of the group but might be interested.

You can also set up a table with information about your group and prizes (like candy) for people who claim bingo. Hand out bingo cards to everyone in the crowd and let them know they can come to the table to collect a prize or learn more. 

Request SSA counter-protest supplies here!

The idea is to gather an audience from the activity itself. However, starting off with participants is a good idea. To do this, you will need to promote from within your group. Make announcements at regular meetings plus let everyone know through your group email list.

Bingo Templates:
We recommend creating your own version of the bingo sheets but here are some examples used in real life to get you off your feet:

  1. Official SSA Street Preacher Bingo Cards
  2. Illini SSA Template
  3. Illinois State University SSA Template
  4. Sample FAQ sheet [.docx] courtesy of Advocates for Freethought & Skepticism at Oregon State University
  5. Or design and make your own

Suggested Walkthrough 

  1. Try to get a feel of how many people would be interested in doing this activity in your group. You might want to try a Doodle poll or something like that or simply bring it up in a meeting one day to get a show of hands.
  2. Look out for various campus preachers to see when they will be on your campus. You can find these all over the internet but here are some of the more famous examples: Tom, Jed
  3. Design a bingo template and print off many copies. Be sure your bingo template has group info on it so players can find out how to join! Also design a poster board or sign to keep track of all the phrases that have yet been said.
  4. Scrounge up a few prizes for participants who win. Big bags of candy, gift cards, or swag gear are some examples. 
  5. The officers of the group should designate one person to hold the sign and a judge to decide phrase discrepancies and to pass out prizes.
  6. Create a Facebook event, send out an email or some sort of promotion beforehand to announce to your audience that the event is taking place. This part isn't nessecary, but will definitely help you attract more supporters. 
  7. Train the group on how to keep their composure as the preacher might say or do incendiary things. The point of the activity is make fun of the whole spectacle of a campus preacher so that people won't take them so seriously, and it is important to convey that to everyone who participates.
  8. When the campus preacher arrives, simply gather in their vicinity and play bingo.
  9. Have fun and take pictures! Submit a Brag It Up when you're done to get free goodies for your group.

Secular Student Alliance at the University of Arizona tabling during a game of Brother Jed Bingo.

Here's a video from the 2015 SSA Annual Conference. Matt talks about his experience with Preacher Bingo. 

One of our best resources to find out what works and what doesn't is you - our student leaders! If you've employed a strategy that worked well, let us know about it so other groups can also use that idea. If you've learned a lesson of caution about something we suggest, point out the pitfalls. You can email us at organizer@secularstudents.org!

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