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MUggles For Change brings social awareness to MU

The organization raises awareness and bonds over Harry Potter series along with other fandoms.

March 17, 2014

Updated March 17, 2014 at 5:14 p.m.

MUggles For Change is MU’s new chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, an international organization that uses “nerdy mediums” to raise awareness for a variety of social issues.

MUggles For Change President Katie Harbinson, sophomore, said she originally found out about the organization through a friend. She said she was surprised that MU didn’t have a chapter of its own and decided to start one.

This semester, MUggles For Change is focusing on LGBT and women’s rights, Harbinson said. To better help them achieve the organization’s goals, she said the members have split themselves into smaller committees that focus on each of the two issues.

“We’re an organization that’s going to do so much good, hopefully on this campus, and we’ve already generated a lot of buzz,” she said. “We’re just a lot of fun because at the heart of this were not going to be — yes we want to do good things — but we also want to have fun with it.”

HPA brings together every type of fandom and works with the close-knit communities to bring social justice on an international level, according to its website. The organization has chapters anywhere from the USA to Vietnam.

In the past, HPA has raised over $123,000 for Partners In Health in Haiti and donated more than 120,000 books around the world.

“Social justice issues on campus are a really big thing, especially women’s rights, just because they’re such a marginalized group of people,” MUggles For Change Vice President Andy Ward said. “So anything I can do as an ally to that cause is definitely going to make the world a better place. I guess we can’t make the world a better place all at once so we’re going to start here at Mizzou and hope we can change things here.”

On the LGBT front, Ward wants to have transgender or gender identity included in MU’s nondiscrimination clause.

Harbinson said that the group has a lot of events planned for the future, including a Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice sale, participate in book drives and even throw a Yule Ball.

For the tenth anniversary of “Mean Girls” in April, Harbinson said MUggles For Change will be selling buttons with quotes from the movie such as: “You can sit with us” and “Four for you.”

Any money raised through the sales will be donated to True North, a local women’s shelter.

Harbinson also said MUggles For Change is an open and inclusive group. Its goal is to make everyone feel comfortable and welcomed, make the world a better place and talk about their interests.

“I am a huge Harry Potter fan,” sophomore Mackenzie Ward said. “If you’ve ever met me before I can quote the first three movies by heart, I kid you not it’s actually pretty fun. Whenever I watch it with my parents, they start yelling at me about five minutes in. When (Harbinson) posted on Facebook that she was doing a Harry Potter club, how could I not join?”

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