Bridging boredom: Bridge club engages campus community

Bridge, a card game played with a standard 52-card deck, is a social game. Members of the Allegheny College Bridge Club meet in McKinley’s Food Court from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, to play the game and teach the campus community who are eager to learn.

Bridge can be played for the social aspect, but there is also the chance to compete in tournaments against other top schools in the nation, such as Harvard University and Brown University. Club members have the option to play in national competitions if they choose, and winning prizes often include scholarship money that has been donated by prominent public figures like Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett, according to Bridge Club adviser Barbara Grzegorzewski, ’73.

“Bridge is a game that can be played for a lifetime,” Grzegorzewski said.

Shaelyn Ursida
Left to Right: Hannah Sharp,’23, Becca Winton,’23, Keith Irvin,’20, Elizabeth Naser,’21, play Bridge at the weekly club meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in the Henderson Campus Center.

Grzegorzewski has been the adviser of the Bridge Club for about half a decade and has been playing bridge since her time as an Allegheny student. Grzegorzewski plays competitively in tournaments and shares her wisdom with the Bridge Club’s current members.

“This is my passion — trying to get students to learn and play the game — because it is a good diversion and keeps your mind sharp,” Grzegorzewski said.

The game is played with a partner, so members of the club makes a point to get to know each other every week. Grzegorzewski and Bridge Club President Keith Irvin, ’20, both said they always welcome new members.

“Anyone can come and learn how to play bridge,” Irvin said. “I had some friends … that were in Bridge Club, so they invited me to come and play bridge. I came in and tried it out, and I really enjoyed it, so I have kept coming back ever since then.”

Irvin said he did not have any prior knowledge of Bridge when he first joined the club. Irvin also said he plays bridge outside of the campus community.

“Since I’ve been coming to Bridge Club (at Allegheny), I have found a bridge club at home in Pittsburgh, and I have been going there and playing every week when I am at home,” Irvin said. “I also go down to the Meadville Bridge Club on Thursday evenings, and I play there if there is a partner for me.”

Before Irvin graduates from Allegheny, he said he hopes to see the Bridge Club continue to grow. Elizatabeth Naser, ’21, is one of the new members in Bridge Club this year.

“For me, my dad’s side of the family always played cards and I played different versions of bridge previously, but I never actually learned how to play legitimately until (I came to) Allegheny,” Naser said.

The Bridge Club first caught her attention at the Involvement Fair on Aug. 29, 2019.

“I went to the (Involvement Fair) this year and saw (the Bridge Club) there, so I signed up and have loved it ever since. People should join Bridge Club because it’s awesome,” Naser added.

The club is also a good way to de-stress and take a break from studying, according to Grzegorzewski.

“I think a lot of kids don’t know how much fun it is or how much of a diversion it is,” Grzegorzewski said. “January gets a little boring, so maybe you need to try something new and exciting.”

The Bridge Club is not limited to just students.

“Anyone from the campus community can come and play if they would like to,” Irvin said. “Professors, staff, faculty, members of the community — everyone is welcome.”