St. Kate’s is more magical than meets the eye

Have you waited your whole life for your Hogwarts acceptance letter? Have you always dreamed of discussing the wizarding world with other Potter fanatics? Does the mention of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin send your mind whirling? Then Gryffindor Tower here at St. Kate’s is for you!

About six years ago, the English Club and the English professors gathered and discussed what kind of classes they would like to see in the future. One student said that they wanted a Harry Potter class; from the work of that student and two devoted professors, the Six Degrees of Harry Potter Literature course was born. This led to the day class and the Harry Potter community, now known as Gryffindor Tower, residing on the top floor of Caecilian Hall.

Jenny McDougal, a professor at St. Kate’s, is in charge of teaching the Harry Potter class this year. The course is mostly discussion-based, supplemented by several papers. In addition, students must prepare a final project. It can be anything from a research paper to something creative; these projects are meant to reflect students’ learning from the course.

“When you show up, you get sorted and each house is responsible for a theoretical approach … the first part of the course they read their books, they read their texts, they prepare a presentation … on how their specific book addresses the big themes … as the course goes on we start reading the novels; you have to read all seven books,” says McDougal.

Not only is Harry Potter discussed in the classroom, but is represented in campus activities such as Quidditch (which is open to all students). McDougal says the first Quidditch match should be coming up this October. Other activities include scavenger hunts through the Forbidden Forest and quests through the Chamber of Secrets. Students are also able to sit in on the Harry Potter class to listen to the discussions even if they are not a part of Gryffindor Tower.

Living in Gryffindor Tower can only be described as “magical.” Once reaching the top floor of Caecilian Hall, pieces of the wizarding world can be seen everywhere. Paper candles float along the ceiling just like in the Great Hall. An archway labeled “Hogwarts” leads up into the common room which is filled with Harry Potter-themed décor and the final projects many students have left behind.

“Through the course, students were asked to create creative presentations, and a lot of those presentations found their way through the students’ own passions …” says McDougal.

One project was a replica of the Fat Lady that still hangs near the stairs (don’t worry; they don’t move).

It does not take a magic wand to be a part of this enchanted community. According to the St. Kate’s website, “New and returning students are eligible to live in Gryffindor Tower in Caecilian Hall. Participants must register for the Six Degrees of Harry Potter literature course for Fall semester.”

Magic does not have to be something that is only found in J.K. Rowling’s incredible novels or the Daily Prophet; make your love for Harry Potter a reality by grabbing your wands and joining the ranks of wizards, muggles and half-bloods all over campus at Gryffindor Tower.

Emma can be reached at

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