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Ohio State’s Harry Potter Alliance seeks to better Muggle world

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Cut-out from book cover of J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.’

Cutout from book cover of J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.’

Ohio State Harry Potter fans are aiming to add a little magic to giving back in the community.

The Harry Potter Alliance is a national nonprofit inspired by the good caused by Harry Potter in the storyline of J.K. Rowling’s series, and it focuses on influencing and implementing social change in the “Muggle” world, according to the alliance’s website.

“Just as Harry and his friends fought the Dark Arts in J.K. Rowling’s fictional universe, we strive to destroy real-world horcruxes like inequality, illiteracy, and human rights violations,” the main website says.

OSU chapter President Balpreet Kaur, a third-year in neuroscience and international development studies, and Vice President Allison Rowe, a fourth-year in psychology, met through a mutual friend and founded the club.

“This is a group that is passionate about Harry Potter and wants to commit to having a positive change in the community through fandom,” Kaur said.

The Harry Potter Alliance has chapters worldwide, including 38 states in the U.S. This chapter is the sixth in Ohio.

Nationally, Harry Potter Alliance has raised more than $123,000 for efforts in Haiti and has donated more than 120,000 books to different organizations around the world.

“Harry Potter brings people together because it is such a well-known series and it has touched an entire generation,” Kaur said. “And we have 60,000 people from that generation right here (at OSU).”

The club’s first meetings were Feb. 3 and Friday, and nine total OSU students attended.

Joe Traini, a second-year in civil engineering, was one of the students who decided to see what the club was all about.

“I was on the ‘Get Involved’ link online for student organizations (on the Ohio Union’s website) and was just clicking on a bunch of (the organizations). I also did Harry Potter Quidditch, too,” Traini said.

Kaur hopes to plan Harry Potter-like events for the club, including Wizard’s Chess on the Oval, a Halloween Masquerade and a TriWizard Tournament. Community service events are also in the making, including volunteering at local animal shelters and reading books to elementary students, Kaur said.

“As an organization, we want people that love Harry Potter and are inspired by Harry Potter to come together and live by the themes in the book. To live those lessons that Dumbledore, Harry, Hermione, Ron and everyone teaches us,” Kaur said.

Kaur said she hopes the Harry Potter Alliance helps change the Columbus community through service projects and through the love of Harry Potter.

“I asked people in our first meeting ‘What about Harry Potter really inspires you?’” Kaur said. “And many of them said that it’s that normal teenagers could change the world.”

Meetings are scheduled every other Monday, with the next one scheduled for Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in Enarson Hall 240.

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