Campus org showcase:

Ministry of Magic



Story by Katie Bast, News Editor

Once a month, Harry Potter enthusiasts across campus meet to discuss all things Harry Potter.

Junior Stephanie Schenk is the president, or “minister,” of the UWEC Student Ministry of Magic.

She said a typical meeting starts with a review of what’s going on in the Harry Potter world. Now that the series is finished, Schenk said there isn’t as much going on, but they’re keeping up with the cast and spinoffs like “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a book featured in the series, then created for “muggles” and now being turned into a movie.

Arts, crafts and games usually make up the end of the meeting, Schenk said.

The Eau Claire Ministry of Magic also functions as the local chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, a worldwide organization that fights “real world horcruxes” like hunger and illiteracy. Schenk said the organization gets information from HPA about its campaigns and help however they can.

“We do our best to get as involved as possible,” Schenk said. “Along with that, we’ve tried to do our own part around the community.”

Schenk said the group has volunteered at the Humane Society and worked with the public library asking for donations for their annual book drive and then purchasing, sorting and sending the books.

A $5 fee per semester is required to be a member. That money goes toward supplies for crafts and events. Schenk said any leftover money is donated to charity.

Aside from being involved in the community, Schenk said the club offers a welcoming environment on campus as well, and many of the aspects of the club to those who may be unfamiliar with the book and movie series.

“We’re doing our best to incorporate other fandoms like Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings,” Schenk said. “There’s no harsh judgement if you haven’t read the Harry Potter books.”

Schenk said the group also organizes larger events throughout the year. Each fall, it hosts a Halloween Feast, and a Yule Ball every spring. Both are open to members and non-members alike. She said it’s even attempted Quidditch in the past, but instead  settled on a safer, less expensive, Quidditch-themed Ultimate Frisbee-style game.

“They’re events that if I weren’t on the exec board, I would want to do,” Schenk said.

Schenk said about 10 to 15 people show up to each meeting, but their email list has more than 300 people. Of those who come to meetings, Schenk said everyone gets along.

“We don’t have any problems with (our members),” she said. “It’s nice being in an environment with people who share the same interests as you.”

Schenk said much of the promotion for the club is mainly by word of mouth. She said friends invite other friends and tour guides mention it to prospective students.