Have you ever wished there was a club to join based on your favorite book series?
For students at Whitman-Hanson, this year junior Elizabeth Ingram has started just that – a Harry Potter Alliance Club — their recruiting slogan: “Nerds doing good.”
The local club is part of a global network, founded in Somerville Mass., in 2005, and based on the famous book series by J.K. Rowling with a mission to work for equality, human rights and literacy. There are more than 275 chapters in 25 countries and 43 U.S. states.
Founder Andrew Slack initially sought to draw attention to human rights violations in Sudan.
The Alliance has since sent more than $123,000 in life-saving supplies to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, helped in the victory for Net neutrality and against child slavery by working with Warner Bros. studios in January on an agreement to make all Harry Potter chocolate sold at Warner Bros. outlets and through their licensed partners 100-percent UTZ (sustainably farmed) or Fair Trade, according to the Website thehpalliance.org.
The W-H Harry Potter Alliance’s first meeting took place after school on Tuesday, Sept. 15, with about 10 students attending.
“I got the idea to start the club from watching YouTube videos online,” Ingram said. “The more I learned about the club from YouTube users already involved, the more interested I became in the organization and being part of a chapter.”
Ashley Balbian is the faculty advisor for the club. When Ingram first approached her, Balbian thought “it was a great, creative idea” and “immediately said yes” to being the advisor.
“My hope for the club this year is to contribute to the school as well as create a more positive atmosphere,” Ingram explains.
She also wants the club to participate in other national Harry Potter Alliance campaigns like Accio Books, a book drive to help support literacy and those who do not have access to books; and Esther Day, a day dedicated to people promoting kindness and doing good in honor of Esther Earl, the inspiration for John Green’s novel, “The Fault in Our Stars.”
“Accio” is a spell used in Harry Potter to bring a wanted object to whoever uses it. Esther Earl was an activist in the Harry Potter Alliance and lost her battle with cancer in 2010.
In the future, Ingram hopes that the club can make a difference in the local community.
And of course, both Ingram and Balbian are Harry Potter fans.
Their favorite character is Hermione Granger because she “stands up for what she believes in and doesn’t give up,” said Ingram.