Student Organization of the Week: Harry Potter Alliance

Jessica Lam, Staff Writer

The Harry Potter Alliance is an international nonprofit organization that uses lessons from J.K. Rowling’s best-selling series as inspiration for tackling issues such as literacy, equality and human rights. Oberlin College has its own chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, founded last year by College sophomore Anna Dardick.

Dardick, who founded and served as president for a chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance at her high school, considers Harry Potter to be a prominent influence on many children growing up.

“I think my favorite thing about the Harry Potter series is how accessible it is,” said Dardick, who cites the series as her reason for reading as a child. “It can bring up issues such as prejudice and genocide in a format that anyone, children and adults alike, can read.”

This desire to read the Harry Potter series, along with the Bardic Reading event hosted by the Classics Department, helped inspire the Oberlin Harry Potter Alliance’s upcoming event.

Next Sunday, May 8, there will be an all-day reading of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone starting at 10:30 a.m. in Tappan Square. Along with the reading, there will be arts and crafts, music performances and a costume competition.

This family-friendly and community-oriented event is intended to be a fundraiser similar to Relay for Life, in that the friends and family of the people who sign up to read a chapter will pledge donations. All of the proceeds will go to a to-be-determined literacy-related nonprofit organization.

Dardick is extremely enthusiastic about the opportunity to draw from her own love of the series to give back to the community and urge others to find their own inspiration in the Harry Potter series.

“The Harry Potter Alliance — and, in general, community service and social justice related to Harry Potter — is the way the fandom is going and the way that it should go,” said Dardick. “Keeping the love of the series to ourselves becomes more selfish as time goes on.”