Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, or Ravenclaw? SRU’s chapter of Dumbledore’s Army held a Sorting Ceremony on Thursday to welcome new members and to collect books for the club’s book drive.
President of DA, secondary English education major, Sarah Conley, 21, was a founding member Dumbledore’s Army last year with about 50 active members, and over 200 likes on Facebook. Last August, they were recognized as an official chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, which is a worldwide organization that dedicates itself to serving others through their connection to the stories and characters of Harry Potter.
“We’re a service organization first, and a Harry Potter fan group second,” Conley said. “It’s great that we can find something we all have in common, and use it to help others.”
Club secretary, and geology and global cultures major, Cassie Thompson, 19, is an avid follower of the HPA and said that because they’re a global organization, they focus on spreading awareness about ongoing social and political issues. Thompson said they’re especially focused on legalizing gay marriage and promoting gender equality.
“The messages about overcoming hardship and discrimination from the books extends beyond the books, and into real life,” Thompson said.
Conley bought a replica Sorting Hat to sort members into their houses, and to welcome them into DA. Conley instructed new members to take the Pottermore Sorting Hat Quiz online, and report the results to her. After members’ houses were announced to the group, they were allowed to take a picture in the Sorting Hat, and post a picture with the hashtag, #SortingHatSelfie.
DA started collecting for their first book drive two weeks ago in SWC room 302, and will continue to collect donations until the end of the semester.
Conley said that in middle school, everybody feels alone and misunderstood, and said Harry Potter really helped her through that part of her life, and hopes to give other kids that feeling of belonging through the book drive.
Thompson said that it’s important to provide books for children because it gives them an escape from life, and a break from their worries.
“J.K. Rowling said that she’d often get letters from fans that said ‘You taught me that there’s more to life than bullies’,” Thompson said. “I’d like other kids to get that same kind of reassurance through reading that I did.”
Aside from the book drive, DA will also be mailing letters to service men and women later this month, and plan on holding a “Dobby’s Sock” drive next semester. They also plan on having other Harry Potter themed events, like last year’s “Harry Potter and the Holocaust,” which explored similar themes occurring in both, such as supremacist ideologies and racism, and how they endanger the population.
“Harry Potter teaches its readers that there’s both good and bad in the world, and that you can overcome the bad through friendship, love, and bravery,“ Conley said. “Anyone can learn from that.”