Under the Knife: Dumbledore's Army conjures community service

A triangle split in two by a line down the center containing a circle touching all three sides is inscribed on the northwest wall of Sturges Hall. Harry Potter fans will recognize it as the symbol for the Deathly Hallows, three powerful magical objects. But students also know it as the insignia of a community service organization, appropriately named Dumbledore’s Army.

 On many college campuses across the country, Dumbledore’s Army has become synonymous with community service. The club is dedicated to fighting evil much like Hogwarts’ extracurricular organization in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. College chapters implement their good intentions through community service rather than wand waving.

Locally, Geneseo and the Rochester Institute of Technology have chapters of Dumbledore’s Army. According to the club’s vice president, sophomore Nicole Theal, last year the Harry Potter Alliance connected interested Geneseo students with the RIT branch of Dumbledore’s Army.

Theal said that the club initially had trouble gaining momentum at Geneseo.

“Initially, becoming recognized by the school was hard because there are several service organizations already,” she said.

Since then, however, Geneseo’s chapter has come a long way, gaining recognition as a student organization last fall.

Theal said Dumbledore’s Army has positively contributed to the Geneseo community. Members have orchestrated a book drive and participated in Alpha Phi Omega’s Day of Service.

Recently, the club hosted the Yule Ball, a Geneseo Late Knight event where students enjoyed an evening of music, some Harry Potter-related giveaways and games. With a turnout of over 55 people, Theal said the event was an enormous success, even boosting the organization’s membership in the weeks that followed. Currently, there are 15 members in the organization.

Dumbledore’s Army meets Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in Welles 140. During meetings, members not only discuss community service but also engage in the Harry Potter fan culture. They have screened “A Very Potter Musical,” a parody based on the original books.

Theal said the organization would like to gain a greater presence on campus in coming semesters through increased volunteerism and events. In doing so, they hope to gain the reputation of a service organization, rather than to be misconceived as a club that talks about Harry Potter.

“Being a part of this club is so rewarding,” she said. “It is my favorite club and probably the smallest one I am involved in but I love the group of people involved.”