Geneseo’s Harry Potter-centric club Dumbledore’s Army hosted its third annual Yule Ball on Friday Nov. 14 at the Knight Spot, providing an enchanting evening for all who came. Taken right out of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, the Yule Ball is the Christmas dance held during the Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Thanks to DA, it has become an annual tradition here at Geneseo. This year’s event broke the attendance records of the past two years. Yule Ball attendees spent the evening waltzing about the dance floor to classic ballroom tunes mixed in with popular music. “People wore what is referred to in the books as ‘dress-robes,’ as well as Western business attire,” junior Cole Battaglini said. This is Battaglini’s third year as a DA member.
The evening’s festivities also included a drawing of Harry Potter memorabilia. Everything from jewelry to clothing was given away to several lucky winners.
“We are a newer organization and we are just trying to get our name out there,” Battaglini said. “We decided to keep the admission price free, as to not deter people from coming. But after the success of this event, we will be able to start doing fundraising events in which we charge admission.”
Established in 2011, the Geneseo chapter of DA is still in its beginning years and is a branch of a larger organization known as The Harry Potter Alliance.
“As a club, our mission is to take morals and values that we may find in J.K. Rowling’s works and advocate for them in our community,” Battaglini said. “For example, people often read Professor Lupin’s ‘werewolf-ism’ as a metaphor for HIV/AIDS. As a club, we may then take that interpretation and fundraise money for HIV/ AIDS research in the name of Lupin.”
Each year, DA votes on one philanthropy event to focus on. For the 2014-2015 school year, the club has decided to raise money for Chances and Changes. According to its website, the organization is dedicated to helping people “escape the traumas of abuse, to heal the emotional and physical bruises, to live in an environment of comfort and protection, to take the first step in making a change for a better, safer, happier life.”
In addition to the success of their third Yule Ball, DA’s growing impact on campus shows that the organization is a force to be reckoned with.
“Despite what most people think, we aren’t just a fan club,” Battaglini said. “Yes, we believe that fantasy can serve as an escape from the reality, but we also believe that it can have real life applications. By understanding the values and morals instilled in fantasy worlds such as the Harry Potter series, we can seek to better our own.”