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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Harry Potter inspires student club to make a difference

Savannah+Douglas%2F+The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ASarah+Vining%2C+a+member+of+the+UA+Harry+Potter+Alliance.%2C+recruits+new+members+on+the+UA+mall+on+Tuesday.+The+UA+HPA+works+for+positive+social+change+from+a+Harry+Potter+angel.
Savannah Douglas
Savannah Douglas/ The Daily Wildcat Sarah Vining, a member of the UA Harry Potter Alliance., recruits new members on the UA mall on Tuesday. The UA HPA works for positive social change from a Harry Potter angel.

Harry Potter is an important part of our generation, said Sarah Vining, an environmental science freshman. She isn’t the only one to think so — the book series has sold more than 450 million copies.

But the series hasn’t just inspired an avid fandom — it has also influenced a club on campus, the Harry Potter Alliance, to work to make campus and the local Tucson community a better place. One motto of the club is, “You don’t need magic to make a difference in the world,” according to Vining.
Vining, a member of the UA’s chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, said she began reading J.K. Rowling’s novels when she was 11.

“I started at the same age when Harry goes to Hogwarts, so I pretty much grew up with it. I really love it and it was a big part of my life,” Vining said.

Vining accidentally joined the club when her roommate dragged her to it, but stuck with HPA because of this love for all things Potter and her appreciation for what the club does.

More than just a fan club, HPA focuses heavily on service, but goes about it in an unique, Hogwarts-esque fashion.

Much like in the novels, the members are sorted into four houses, but with a couple differences.

During sorting, Vining said, “they have this big hat, which doesn’t talk of course, but we all line up, and we sit with the hat on, and they take your picture, and you say what house you want to be in.”

Vining is a member of Slytherin house, which, in HPA, is dedicated to the environment, not the return of the Dark Lord. Each house has a specific service area that they focus on; those who join Gryffindor fight for equality, Ravenclaws are interested in literacy and media reform, and Hufflepuffs care about self esteem.

One service project that was started by the Slytherins is the Horcrux in the Woods.

“We go out and clean up trash near the Miles Exploratory Learning Center,” Vining said. “We’ve done it so many times that Tucson Clean and Beautiful are going to dedicate a plaque to us, and the mayor might be there.”

The Ravenclaw house is also involved with Quick Quotes Quill, a program that helps children learn how to write and donates books to schools. The Gryffindor house is involved with the annual
Slutwalk, and fights for equality for women, Vining said.

Though her involvement with the club was almost accidental, Vining said it ended up being a great decision.

“I know people have trouble finding a way to get involved with the community, and this is a great way to do it and be quirky, and it’s a great way to meet people that are different,” Vining said.

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