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Jack of all clubs: Dumbledore's Army

Dumbledore's Army
Memebers of Dumbledore’s Army pose for a picture with their Pitchfork Award, on Friday, April 8, 2016, in Tempe, AZ. The club won the award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student Organization on Thursday, April 7, 2016.

Each week reporter Jeff Darge searches campus for a new club to join.

I have said it before and I will say it again — I know close to nothing about Harry Potter. When the books and movies were coming out, I was obsessing about other things, namely Star Wars. This week it was time to find out what I missed out on all these years by joining Dumbledore's Army.

This ASU Harry Potter fan club was this year's Pitchfork Awards winner for Outstanding Undergraduate Student Organization.

I went to the club's wand-making and movie-watching event. Along with enhancing my little-to-no knowledge about Harry Potter, I also learned how to use a hot-glue gun to make a wand, only burning myself a couple of times. 

The movie began as myself and a few other club members made our wands. Mine would come out an ocean-blue, and it looked a bit more like a tiny lightsaber than it did a wand — figures. 

There was a bit of a loose feel to the meeting. It was not just wand making and a movie. Members were using the time to socialize with others in a few different ways — some playing a board game.

Here is where I would normally discuss the Harry Potter film the club watched, but that would be difficult because the movie was actually "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

I know it might seem a bit confusing as to why the Harry Potter club was watching Star Wars, but as I discussed the merits of Rey being able to communicate with droids with seemingly no issue, I began to get it.

This may be the Harry Potter club, but that doesn't mean that Harry Potter is the only fandom the club is part of. Dumbledore's Army is an eclectic mix of pop culture obsessions. There are Whovians; there are Trekkies; there are even Dungeons and Dragons players. Harry Potter may provide the inspiration for the club's events, but in no way is a knowledge of Harry Potter necessary.

Julia Armstrong, club co-vice president and engineering management junior, said not all members of the club have a deep knowledge of Harry Potter.

"Our mascot, in fact, has never read a single book," she said.

Suddenly, the club was an equal playing ground. I didn't need Harry Potter to enjoy Dumbledore's Army. I had Star Wars.

Club president and English senior Morgan Fitkin said the club meetings are not based on Harry Potter knowledge.  

"Even if you don't have a lot of Harry Potter knowledge, it's just a fun club to be in," she said.

That is not to say that having a vast knowledge of Harry Potter is going to be a waste at the club. There may be representatives from various pop culture fandoms, but this is still Dumbledore's Army.

"If you are a huge Harry Potter fan, everything we do does have the Harry Potter element," Fitkin said. "Most of the activities that we do are things that they do in the books and the films, and we try to bring them to life."

That means if your looking for slug club or a good tri-wizarding tournament, Dumbledore's Army is still the best place to find those. At the same time, if you are like me and have no idea what a slug club or tri-wizarding tournament is, this is the best place to find out.

"It's Harry Potter-centered, but it's a big group of friends," said interdisciplinary senior Kelsie Urias.

Those interested in joining a little slice of the world of witchcraft and wizardry, no matter their understanding of that world, should check the group's Facebook and Orgsync pages. The group meets every Friday night, but meeting specifics change on a weekly basis.


Reach the reporter at jdarge@asu.edu or follow  @jeffdarge on Twitter.

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