Bringing Hogwarts to Eau Claire

Story by Briana Gruenewald

Harry Potter fans now officially have a place of refuge on campus to discuss all things Potter-related after Student Senate approved the Student Ministry of Magic organization’s constitution.

Planning for the organization began last year when sophomore Eric VandenHeuvel and his friends were discussing the “travesty” of not having a Harry Potter-related organization on campus. They decided to act, and began drafting a constitution for the organization.

Like any other campus group, the Student Ministry of Magic also has an executive board but decided ‘muggle’ titles like President and Vice President were not magical enough.

VandenHeuvel is the Minister of Magic, sophomore Rachel Smith is the Junior Assistant to the Minister, sophomore Alie Bultman is the Scribe and freshman Will Berendsen has dual responsibilities as the Gringotts Guardian and the Daily Prophet Reporter.

As an official organization, VandenHeuvel said he is excited to start planning events the entire campus will be able to participate in.

“We basically want to turn campus into a Hogwarts away from Hogwarts,” he said.

The organization plans to vote at the next meeting on heads for six committees: Quidditch, movies, fundraising, visibility, activities and games.

Committees will be responsible for planning events like Harry Potter movie nights, Butterbeer pong and wizard-related food gatherings.

Some of the big events the executive board has tentatively planned for the year are a Quidditch tournament, a Yule Ball and a Tri-wizard Tournament through a partnership with Sutherland Hall’s Tri-Cube tournament.

The organization currently meets every week on Tuesday evenings, but VandenHeuvel said that is subject to change to Thursdays based on several complaints he’s received from students who have prior commitments on Tuesdays.

However, despite such complaints, 65 students attended the third meeting of the Student Ministry of Magic Tuesday. VandenHeuvel said he was “floored” by the turnout.

It was the greatest thing ever, I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “We love to see new members every week, and hope that the membership outgrows the space available in our meeting rooms.”

The board members promoted the organizations meeting in several different ways. Sophomore Laura Brooten heard about it through a Facebook invitation and senior Catelyn Cravens noticed the chalking on the campus sidewalks.

“The words ‘Harry Potter’ caught my eye, so obviously I had to stop and read carefully,” Cravens said. “Chalk was everywhere on campus telling me about the meeting.”

Cravens attended her first meeting Tuesday and said she will definitely continue to be actively involved in the organization.

“I’ve been waiting for a Harry Potter group to be on campus forever,” she said. “I’m excited to get together with a group of people who have a similar passion as mine.”

Brooten expressed a similar sentiment, and said she would particularly like to be involved with a committee.

“I think the committees are going to make the group really fun,” she said. “It’s a nice way to meet others who also enjoy the Harry Potter series as much as I do.”

VandenHeuvel said the major hurdle the organization will face is funding. The fundraising committee will be the most vital part of raising money, he said. Each student is required to pay 5 dollars to become a voting member of the organization.

Another challenge is having frequent events, which VandenHeuvel said would be a result of how organized the committees are.

“If all goes according to plan, people will be hearing about Harry Potter every week.”