For those of you who don’t know, the Harry Potter Alliance is a fan based social activism non-profit centred around the one and only Harry Potter (character, books, series). We also get super stoked about a lot of other fandoms too – you can check out the Avatar Fandom Toolkit and read about Odds In Our Favor (Hunger Games). I won’t go into great detail about the Harry Potter Alliance right now, instead I’ll send you to the website or you can just find some of the other Harry Potter Alliance blog posts on here by filtering out the blog posts.
We are having a campaign right now and one thing a lot of us are really excited to do is talk about why we joined the Harry Potter Alliance. For me, why I joined the Harry Potter Alliance isn’t very complicated. Why I stayed as a volunteer is probably the most important aspect, in my opinion.
So I first joined the Harry Potter Alliance in university. One of my friends and classmates overheard me talking to another classmate about Harry Potter and joined in. She invited me to the Yule Ball and I was like “oh ok, that sounds like fun, so sure”. What Harry Potter geek doesn’t want to go to a real live Yule Ball? Later I found out how much more in depth it went. It wasn’t just a fan club; it was a huge non-profit and was doing amazing social activism work in the chapters and at headquarters. It’s not very often that I get to legitimately nerd out with people who are actually just as excited as me about things like Harry Potter. AND we get to try to make a difference in the real world at the same time.
The next school year, my university chapter was looking to bring on some people for the executive team so I applied to be the public relations executive. It seemed like a no brainer to try to get some practical “work” experience and actually have a good time doing it – Harry Potter + social activism? So many yeses!
The chapter level had it’s challenges, but it was basically the first time in my life I’d had a group of people I could spend time with and actually felt like I was fitting in. My interest in the Harry Potter Alliance just grew and grew. We played Quidditch, we hosted another Yule Ball, and we hosted Hunger Is Not a Game (our rendition of Odds in Our Favor) and the Lumos Campaign (for mental health). The Lumos Campaign was particularly meaningful for our chapter because a number of us had depression or anxiety disorders or other mental health things and we wanted to raise awareness.
What I loved, and one of the things that I continue to love, about the Harry Potter Alliance was how people could come together and use something they love – a series of books/movies in popular culture in this case – to try to make a difference in the world. It’s something I’d never engaged in before, but I’d seen major hockey teams host hockey camps for kids, or have a skate-a-thon typed event for a charity so I knew it happened in some areas where people used their passion for good. But the idea that people could do good with popular culture wasn’t something I thought was possible before I was introduced to the Harry Potter Alliance; I just didn’t know people were all over this and I am still so stoked about it.
When I finished university I went for a year of college and I really missed the Harry Potter Alliance crowd so I applied to volunteer at headquarters. It’s been about a year now and I love it so much. I’ve gotten to expand my love for statistics and analytics by being on the analytics team and recently became the analytics team co-lead (surveys and online analytics and numbers, oh my!). I am (hopefully) going to be writing an article for WAND one of these days.
In March I went to the Granger Leadership Academy in Warwick, Rhode Island. I met so many other people in the Harry Potter community (in real life!) and came away with an amazing experience under my belt and a lot of new friends.
If you’ve never heard of the Harry Potter Alliance before and you still aren’t sold on how awesome it is, feel free to check out all of the links on this post and dig into the Harry Potter category on my blog.
Plus I have big, big, big news. We have a new campaign going on right now. The campaign is being hosted on Indiegogo and I am super thrilled with the perks – I am getting the Not All Is Normal Here t-shirt. Check it out; you don’t have to donate if you don’t want to, it’s just totally worth a look too see what kind of awesome we’re up to. So go check the campaign out ok!