Hidden within the imaginary houses of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin are eager members who hope to recruit potential wizards for the Harry Potter Alliance at Cal State Fullerton.
Members pride themselves on the promotion of fan activism by using scenarios and concepts from books like Harry Potter and applying them to real-world events. While the CSUF chapter has only been around for about four years, the Harry Potter Alliance began in 2005 and now consists of 225 chapters in 25 countries.
“I feel like it’s more of a safe space to be yourself,” said Brenda Castillo, club president. “It’s just something if you want to join with awesome people and get to know like-minded people.”
The CSUF Harry Potter Alliance club has around 15-20 members and meets every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Titan Student Union. During this time, the members mostly partake in crafts, writings and games, all within the themes of Harry Potter.
The club does everything from wand making, to sorting its members into different houses by drawing cards from a sorting hat, just to add a little competition among its members.
Cristina Herrera, criminal justice major and vice president of the CSUF Harry Potter Alliance, said whenever people attend club meetings and participate in activities, they earn points for their house, and at the end of each semester the house that has the most points wins a trophy called the house cup.
During their two recent meetings, the club members created monsters and had to come up with a story behind them, explaining their strengths and weaknesses. The goal was to battle their creatures and combine their artwork to make a book on how to take care of magical creatures, similar to a monster book in the movies.
The club is also planning an end of the year quidditch game for its members.
“It’s basically just us envisioning what that game would be like for us to play it in real life. It’s obviously not as cool as the books and movies, but we do what we can,” Herrera said.
It’s essentially a game of tag, with everyone running around on brooms and throwing balls at each other. There is also a separate person who will be playing the snitch, and play once during the game to give people a chance to catch them.
“I imagine the quidditch game will get intense just because we do have some intense club members, but I think it’ll be really fun,” said club member Aubrey Patterson, a sophomore who is double majoring.
To join the club, there is a $20 membership fee, which goes directly towards purchasing supplies for the semester’s crafts and games.
“We don’t have an inter-club council like some clubs … so it is fully self-funded. A lot of the club officers put in their own money so that we can make things happen just because we don’t want to put all the financial burden on the members,” said Tabitha Butler, club treasurer and second year communications major.
This is the reason the club tries to stick to crafts that they think are cost-efficient.
For the club’s signature wand-making craft, they take chopsticks or wooden dowels and hot glue gun them or paint on decorations. This usually costs only $20 for the entire project.
“The officers do a great job considering the fact we don’t have a lot of money, the fee is very small so I think they do pretty well for a small budget,” Patterson said.
The members also created their own version of the card game “Mafia,” which Butler labeled as one of the club’s favorite activities. In this case, the civilians are wizards or muggles and the mafia are death eaters.
Outside of arts and crafts, the Harry Potter Alliance club officers have been working on creating more social events for members to bond outside of campus, like having a Harry Potter movie marathon sleepover, watching a movie on campus or going to Round 1 for karaoke and arcade games.
Officers and members enjoy the level of openness found at the club and how their debates can spark a new understanding and love for Harry Potter.
“This is the first (club) where you can actually just nerd out completely and no one would judge you for it because we’re all equally geeky about these things,” Butler said.