It is safe to say that, although well over tweenage-dom, students are still enamoured by the whole Harry Potter enterprise. Finding fun in the midst of reading and hard work is often in the form of groups such as the Harry Potter and Quidditch Society. With Quidditch being a fast-growing activity across universities and the last of the Harry Potter films come and gone (sniffle), Her Campus talks to President Travis Manuel to find out why and how the society is carrying on J.K Rowling’s magical world.
HC: First up, tell us a bit about yourself, what year you’re in and what university course you’re on.
TM: I'm a second year philosophy student, I'm President of the Quidditch and Harry Potter Society, and I'm on the committees for the Philosophy Society and the Animé Society. I'm also politically active, in a band, a bit of a nerd, and I spend a lot of time reading.
HC: How did the HP society start?
TM: It started over a coffee with my friends Hannah and Ben; we were curious to know how we might play Quidditch in real life, so, after an hour or so of rambling about wires and air vents (to simulate flying), we Googled it and found that hundreds of people are already doing it in America! We thought it was so hilarious that we just had to make a society at Leeds to join in. After a while, we got more and more interested in the other things we could do, too- like Horcrux Hunts (scavenger hunts) and Potions Class (cocktail making), etc. Then it was just a matter of convincing LUU to let us do it!
HC: Cocktails would definitely get me involved! What is your role in the society? What kinds of things to you have to do?
TM: Yeah, the cocktails thing is very popular. And who doesn’t love a good butterbeer?! My role is the President (but ‘Headmaster’ would be totally more awesome). Mostly this involves coming up with new ideas, making sure everything runs smoothly, chasing people who aren’t pulling their weight, and hanging out with lots of lovely Harry Potter fans. The first and last parts are my favourites.
HC: Very good, Headmaster Travis- what kind of things do you have planned for 2012?
TM: We’ve got loads planned! Potions Class and Horcrux Hunts have already been mentioned, but we’ve also got Wizard Duelling, Quidditch, film showings, pub quizzes, cosplay(designing and making costumes), a trip to London (to see the film sets), the Yule Ball, and there are even inter-university talks taking place with the aim of sorting out a Triwizard Tournament!
Some of the Society on an ‘Otley Run’- with the theme of ‘wizards in disguise.’
HC: What is your best Harry Soc memory?
TM: Oh, that’s tough. I really enjoyed the recent trip we took on the actual Hogwarts Express train from the films (I kid you not). The ultimate highlight for me was probably when the band I’m in performed a set of Harry Potter themed songs at the Yule Ball last semester. We pretended to be characters from the books and wrote songs from their perspectives. It was hilarious.
HC: No letter when you were 11? That is sad! But Rowling would be proud. Where do you plan to go from here then? Any career plans?
TM:Alas, no letter. Very sad. My plan after Leeds is to carry on studying. I’d really like to be a professional philosopher (not just to make the stone – I really enjoy the subject!), so I need to get a PhD. Good thing I like reading, really.
Travis and Harry Potter co. on a visit to the Hogwarts express!
HC: would you explain the rules of Quidditch for those who are unaware of such frolicking?
TM: If you’ve read the books then you pretty much know the rules already. The only differences are that we can’t fly (instead we just run around with broomsticks – looking absurd and not taking ourselves too seriously), the snitch is a person dressed in yellow, and the bludgers are dodge-balls. The rest is pretty much intuitive! It’s a great mix of hide and seek, netball, and dodgeball. If anyone’s really super interested, they can find the rulebook online (free of charge).
HC: As president of a society, what would you say to others to encourage them to get involved more heavily with groups and activities; what do you get out of it?
TM: It sounds pretty obvious, but societies are a really great way to meet new people and try out new things. They’re also brilliant for doing things you already enjoy. And, although I’m not particularly interested in ‘transferable skills’ (because I’m going to be in education for a long time), it’s definitely useful for boosting your CV; all that team work and leadership etc. Mostly though, they’re just a lot of fun!
HC: Which Harry Potter character would you most like to be and why?
TM: What a marvellously nerdy question. Definitely one of the marauders, when they were young; probably James. There’s something great about how effortlessly smart and cool he is.
HC: Finally, give me three reasons why people should join the Harry Potter Society.
TM: 1. We’ve got all sorts of great events planned;
2. We’ve got all sorts of wonderful people in the society;
3. And now that the books are all out and the films are all over, the Harry Potter society at Leeds is the best cure for Post-Potter Depression that many of us will be able to get our hands on!
You can find the Quidditch and Harry Potter society on:
For those who want to get their Quaffle on; the Quidditch rule book can be found here: