Harry Potter Alliance merges nerd culture with philanthropy

It doesn’t take any spell or potion to create the magic that comes with being charitable around Mount Pleasant.

Armed not with wands but ideas, members of the Harry Potter Alliance work on a community and national level to help those in need.

HPA was founded in 2005 at the national level to draw attention to human rights violations in Sudan.

The magic eventually came to Central Michigan University soon after, and students became hooked on the idea of friendship and philanthropy.

“I wasn’t into anything nerdy until Harry Potter,” said Kelsey Thelen, vice president of the Central Michigan University chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance.

Riverview sophomore Sadie Clayton, president of the Registered Student Organization, said the “Harry Potter” series was a starting point to being a part of other “fandoms” or collections of people who like the same element of popular culture, such as the television show “Doctor Who.”

At meetings, group members start off talking about plans for the next few weeks, Thelen said. Members spend the rest of the meeting playing Harry Potter related games.

The CMU Chapter holds a book drive for the HPA “Accio Books” campaign, Thelen said, which gives books to school districts in need of assistance. In the past, the group has donated books to Detroit Public Schools.

HPA will be participating in Adopt-a-Family this semester, and will be involved in Relay for Life in the spring.

The group has four jars labeled with the Hogwarts house crests at their meetings and fundraisers, and people donate money to their favorite. house

The group meets 7 p.m. every Wednesday in Anspach Hall, room 157.