There may not be a platform 9 3/4 at Grinnell, but for the first week in November, the Hogwarts Express might as well have stopped in Grinnell. Harry Potter Week included a themed dining hall dinner (with butterbeer), a wand shop, a quidditch tournament, a house cup competition, and our very own Yule Ball.
The idea for a Harry Potter-themed party came from Austin Frerick ’12, this year’s Student Government Association (SGA)all-campus events coordinator. While they were studying abroad in Botswana last year, Frerick started talking about events with Mary Jane Giesey ’12, who, unlike Frerick, is an avid Harry Potter fan. Upon their return to campus, they decided to make Harry Potter happen. “I don’t actually know much about Harry Potter,” says Frerick, “but that’s where Mary Jane came in.” It was originally planned for only one night, but “we just kept having so many ideas, and we started to realize it couldn’t fit in an evening,” Giesey says.
Giesey, who chaired the Harry Potter Week committee, worked with a variety of students and campus offices to bring the event together with the All-Campus Events Committee. Chris Dorman ’12, SGA vice-president for student affairs, organized the dining hall dinner; Ginger Faulkner, staff psychologist, helped with Ollivanders, the wand shop; and the Pioneer Diversity Council helped run the quidditch tournament.
Upon entering the dining hall, which was rearranged to mirror the great hall tables, students were greeted with butterbeer and Harry Potter delicacies. Some students really got into it. “You know it’s a successful Harry Potter-themed dinner when a student runs through the dining hall yelling, ‘TROLL IN THE DUNGEON! TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!!’,” says Beth Clarke ’15.
Equally exciting was the success of the Hufflepuff house in the quidditch tournament and the house cup competition. “Hufflepuff just won the quidditch tournament and the house cup! This is the best day of my life,” Deborah Berk ’12 said as the competitions ended. Hufflepuffs, illustrated as the most inclusive among the four houses, value hard work, patience, loyalty, and fairness. It makes sense they would do well at Grinnell.
Frerick praised the organic nature of the event, saying, “Everyone just kept coming to us with ideas! I think one of the great things about Grinnell is if you have an idea, we try to make events as student-centered as possible.”