Harry Potter Alliance registered student organization turns focus to volunteering
Look past the wands, sorting hat and occasional game of Quidditch, and add volunteerism, citizenship and a sense of community.
Central Michigan University’s Harry Potter Alliance is one of hundreds of campus chapters nationwide. Focusing on volunteerism, the 25 members of the alliance aim to incorporate Harry Potter into a fight to change the world for the better.
“The Harry Potter Alliance is an organization that uses parallels from the books that relate to real life to inspire people to act against social injustice,” said President Alyssa Chrisman, Sterling Heights senior.
Chrisman has been president of the organization for two years and plans volunteer activities for members such as book drives and bi-weekly visits to the local animal shelter.
“When we do service events, we name them in a way that relates to the books,” said secretary and Holland senior Amanda Shepard. “For example, when we go to the animal shelter, we call it ‘Care of Magical Creatures.’”
Livonia junior Nick Armes has been involved in the organization since 2009 and now serves as vice president.
“The great thing about the Harry Potter Alliance is that we use Harry Potter to help our charity work,” Armes said. “We are a modern-day ‘Dumbledore’s Army’ and want to do good in the world in the name of Harry Potter.”
The organization was recently involved in a seven-month campaign focused on a different social issue each month.
“November was mental health month,” Chrisman said. “We drew a connection to Harry Potter by relating mental illnesses to dementors, which are found in the books. We sponsored events on campus and promoted the importance of mental health to students.”
Now that the books and movies have ended, Harry Potter Alliance members turn to Pottermore, an interactive website that offers members total access to a virtual Hogwarts, to keep connected to the Harry Potter world.
“Pottermore gets us excited again,” Armes said. “There are new releases and components to the books and movies that we’ve never seen before.”
Armes said he is not discouraged by the ending of the series.
“The books may be dead, but the essence of the characters and the impact they’ve made in all of our lives will live on forever,” Armes said.
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