This year, Northwestern College, otherwise known as “Hogwestern,” will be diving into the world of Harry Potter through the Student Activity Council’s line-up of events. Lucas Heiberger, director of student activities, has always loved the fantasy world of the Harry Potter series. “The books and movies came out while I was growing up, and with the influence of older siblings and several ‘you look like Draco Malfoy’ comments over my childhood, the series really came to hold a special place in my heart,” Heiberger said.
This fondness of the series came to inspire Heiberger’s brainstorming. “Hogwestern has been my brainchild for over two years,” Heiberger said. “The inspiration really started when I thought about how cool it would be if NW, Dordt and Briar Cliff could all compete in a Tri-Wizard Tournament like the event from the Harry Potter series.” After looking further into it, Heiberger realized that there are many ways to integrate various Harry Potter events into all-campus events at NW.
This year’s O-Show gave first-year students an introduction to the Harry Potter theme. The rest of campus got their first glimpse of the theme with the Start-of-Term Feast and the Clash of the Houses – an adaptation of the annual Clash of the Classes. Senior Brevin Brands attended both events and observed how people who would have never met were brought together through friendly competition and gatherings. “Seeing many freshmen and transfers getting involved and meeting new people has been great!” Brands said.
Sophomore Collin Verschoor shares the enthusiasm for Hogwestern, seeing it as an opportunity for new connections to form. “SAC created an environment where you interact with others both in your own house and in others. That helps build and strengthen relationships,” Verschoor said. He believes SAC’s theme for the year has the potential for larger impacts. “We oftentimes make fun of the word community at NW because it gets used in everything, but I think this theme for the year is really a way to build a community that spans across dorm, gender, and year,” Verschoor said.
SAC hopes that any student can find a place in this community, even if they’re not well-acquainted with the Harry Potter series. “I don’t want newcomers to the Harry Potter series to feel like they’re missing anything,” Heiberger said. “My goal is for NW students to ditch the dorm room for the day and do something memorable and meet new people. I guess it’s just bonus points if it encourages people to read the books or watch the movies!”