The Burrow: More than a Harry Potter fan club

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The Kansas State Harry Potter Alliance. (Courtesy photo by Katherine Sundgren)

Beyond the magical realm of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry lies an international alliance full of wizards and witches at heart who do more than just commemorate the beloved book series.

The Harry Potter Alliance is a club that reaches worldwide. The Burrow, named after the Weasley family home, is the HPA chapter at Kansas State and was founded in 2010.

Karin Westman, English department head and associate professor, as well as one of the professors of the Harry Potter literature course at K-State, advises the chapter.

“The Burrow chapter was founded for members of the K-State and Manhattan communities who wished to celebrate Rowling’s series and foster community outreach connected to the themes of her series,” Westman said.

Although the group is centered around the themes and imagery of the Harry Potter universe, one does not need to have read or watched the Harry Potter books or movies in order to be a member. Members focus mainly on the activism and helping to better the community around them.

One of the unique campaigns of the HPA is the Accio Books Campaign. In the Harry Potter universe, the word “accio” is a summoning charm. The goal of Accio Books is to provide or, in Harry Potter terms, ‘summon’ books for underprivileged kids.

This past semester, The Burrow chapter at K-State held a coin drive raising money for books. Members and passersby were able to drop off coins into jars separated by the Hogwarts houses of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. All the proceeds went to buy books for underprivileged kids in the community.

According to Westman, The Burrow has partnered with the Children’s and Adolescent Literature Community for many years by sponsoring a wizard rock concert called The Hallows and Horcruxes Ball. Last year, they featured bands like Draco and the Malfoys, bringing 200-300 people from across the Midwest and K-State. The event raised money for the Junction City chapter of First Book, a national literacy organization.

“[We can] use our fandoms to help guide us to do good in the community, and it’s a lot of fun,” Stephanie Bayless, junior in geology and treasurer for The Burrow, said.

The Burrow is about fellowship, activism and, of course, Harry Potter. The Burrow holds meetings every other Saturday, with the next one being Sept. 30 from 1-3 p.m. in Union 206. To learn more about HPA or how to join, email [email protected] or follow @KSUHPATheBurrow on Twitter.

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