will robert barshop

Email at wrbarshop@crimson.ua.edu

Month: October, 2012

Harry Potter Alliance

The Harry Potter Alliance has recently begun this year’s mission of community service under the theme of the beloved fantasy series by J.K. Rowling. President Monica Day led the first meeting by introducing the new members to the HPA’s values of equal rights and opportunities via social action.

I don't find that surprising at all!

The club was advertised in chalk on the Ferguson Plaza.

The meeting began by sorting everyone his or her House. While being significant in the Harry Potter universe, within the HPA they represent specific issues that each team will work against, such as illiteracy or discrimination. The Houses also provide a quirky way of team-building that is a major strength of the organization. It is serious about making a difference, but not afraid to have fun while doing so.

Currently, the HPA is supporting the Not in Harry’s Name movement to ensure all Harry Potter-sponsored chocolate is bought and sold under Fair Trade agreements. The group also promotes the Wrock the Vote campaign which encourages consciousness of the issues of education and marriage equality when it comes to the coming election. The UA chapter of the HPA is working out the details of a bake sale and several members are walking in the Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk today, 14 October.

Perhaps the most pressing priority, however, is that Auburn has a new HPA club, and they think theirs is better than ours. Stay updated on a possible upcoming tournament of magical challenges.



This week marks UA’s return from Fall Break, and the midterm point of the semester. I was lucky enough to catch a flight back to Chicago for the weekend, and took the time to relax with my family and friends from home.

One day while I was there, my girlfriend took me to her campus at DePaul University and to the Skydeck at the Willis (neé Sears) Tower. The tower recently had clear boxes installed on the 103rd floor that visitors can walk into to see the city from above.

Deanna and I waited in line behind spectators ranging from a man who refused to go in to have his picture taken, to one who insisted on doing pushups inside the box.


As I stepped out onto the glass, I recognized the familiar combination of nausea and excitement that has come with the various first steps I have taken in my life. Not the least of which is my first step here at the University of Alabama, which has seen the birth of new relationships, habits, difficulties, and opportunities. Like standing in a glass box 1,300 feet from the ground, I know I have the support I need, but it doesn’t make the view less unnerving.

While my precious days at home were refreshing, classes start again this week, and I return to a different Skydeck.