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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Harry Potter Club to go into its second semester

Member Noelle Wills designed a logo inspired by the Snitch, a piece of equipment used in a sport unique to the series called Quidditch. Photo courtesy of Harry Potter Club

It may have been the luck of the Irish or the magic of the wizarding world that drew Brendan Blaney, a senior in the College of Nursing and Harry Potter Club’s co-headmaster, to decide to start the club at Marquette.

Blaney studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland, in the spring of 2019 at University College Dublin.  There he came across a club called the Harry Potter Society.

Since childhood, Blaney was a fan of the “Harry Potter” series. He said he read all the books and thought it was so cool to see the magical world develop.

“There’s so many lessons from the books and from the movies that kind of, in a very crucial way, shaped our generation,” Blaney said.

Blaney joined the Harry Potter Society at University College Dublin while abroad and said he made lasting friendships.

“I went to their events, and they were so welcoming and warming,” Blaney said. “It was really just about hanging out and having something that you can talk about, if nothing else.”

After seeing how the club worked and functioned, Blaney decided he wanted to bring it back to campus.

Blaney went through the process to make the club a reality at Marquette while abroad. He drafted the constitution, which explains that the club aims to foster friendship and socialization around “Harry Potter” and created positions within the club, such as the club’s treasurer, and recruited faculty member Rebecca Nowacek to be the adviser of the club.

Maria Bunczak, a senior in the College of Nursing and co-headmaster, studied abroad with Blaney and participated alongside him in Harry Potter Society at UCD. Upon returning to campus and attending O-Fest in the fall, she stumbled upon Blaney’s table and immediately offered to be involved in the club.

Bunczak said she has been more than an avid member of the “Harry Potter” world, as her hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin, has a Wizarding Academy during the Summer.

“I was a Ravenclaw for six years,” Bunczak said. Ravenclaw, along with Gryffindor, Slytherin and Hufflepuff, are houses in the book and movie series into which the students of Hogwarts are sorted.

She was then a volunteer counselor for the House of Gryffindor in the summer academy. Along with reading the series of seven books about seven times, Bunczak has been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. She also met Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who played Harry Potter in the movie adaptations of the book series.

Bunczak said the club’s first semester was a time to simply get off the ground. Along with the position of headmaster, other positions in the club include the Heads of Houses, the Daily Prophet Head, who will work on the social media for the club, and a Gringotts Representative, to act as the treasurer.

Emma Sullivan, a first-year transfer in the College of Arts & Sciences, heads the House of Hufflepuff and said that along with general body meetings, which are termed Great Hall meetings, there are house meetings where anyone who identifies with a specific house meets up to have tea or coffee and chat. The official way people in the club are sorted into their houses is through the official Pottermore quiz online, which requires an account to be created.

Sullivan said she remembers growing up and being exposed to “Harry Potter” through her brother, who typically had “Harry Potter”-themed parties.

“He would often have ‘Harry Potter’ birthdays,” Sullivan said. “We have this family video of him walking around labeling rooms with ‘Harry Potter’ terms like Dumbledore’s Office or Hagrid’s Hut.”

Sullivan said for her, this club shows the bond within the “Harry Potter” fandom, as well as the club itself.

“First and foremost, the people in it are awesome,” Sullivan said. “It’s just a great group of people, and I think the ‘Harry Potter’ fandom is especially excited about what they’re doing and that excitement translates to being excited with other people.”

Blaney said this past semester the club partnered with the Marquette Quidditch team at its home tournament and did a bake sale. They also put on a showing of “A Very Potter Musical,” in which Blaney made Butterbeer, a special drink from the “Harry Potter” series, from scratch. A trivia night was also included as a club event.

Along with planning another trivia night this semester, Bunczak said a significant goal of the club is to let more people know that it exists.

“I think so many people are surprised that there is one, (which is) accurate since we are a new club, but we need to do more to get out there,” Bunczak said.

Most of the club’s events are posted on its Facebook titled “marquetteharrypotterclub”and Instagram @muharrypotterclub.

This story was written by Ariana Madson. She can be reached at [email protected].

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