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Three Broomsticks' Future

I feel like what I said at the meeting was right, but why do I have this sinking feeling that it was completely wrong?

To those that weren't there. I proposed that we start to think about the "life after" Harry Potter for the club. There's no scifi/fantasy club anymore, and I feel like 3B could easily fill that spot and thrive in it. After 4 years and with no more books coming, our meeting have become a bit . . . stale. But, I love the club how it is. And I know that Harry Potter is still as popular as ever; our membership is not lacking. I hate to propose changing it. But, i think it needs to happen, or they'll be no sort of geekery left at penn state in a few years - maybe even sooner.

The club's still going strong . . . it's just . . . It needs a fresh look - and this is a general consensus, not just my opinion. I've proposed to keep the name, to keep the Harry Potter inspiration (with the houses, the sortings, and the "Hogsmeade weekends"), but to change the overall scope to encompass the popular scifi/fantasy genre. I'm wondering what the people that follow this journal think?

ETA:
The constitution can be found here: http://www.clubs.psu.edu/up/psuhp/constitution.html
This proposal (that will be put up to officer, then club, vote on Monday - or next Monday, depending) is going to be to change the purpose of the club to generally encompass a broader base, but to still reflect and focus on Harry Potter.
"Article I: Purpose" currently reads:
"The purpose of the Three Broomsticks (hereafter referred to as The Club) is to appreciate and experience the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling. The Club will allow its members to live in the Harry Potter universe through its various activities."

On an amusing side note, according to the constitution we have to go through USG with any changes . . . but there is no USG.

ETA:

6/11/08

Forgot to follow this up before. We had a really long discussion about this at the following meeting to this post. In my opinion, it was extremely relieving to get everyones opinions and to know that people cared. The vote was to keep the constitution the same, however there is interest in branching out more to other literature. Nothing will officially change, but I think the club will still be thinking about adding new stuff into the mix. Overall, this was good. Thanks to everyone for their input, and I hope that no one was disappointed by the voting. I love all you people and will miss you guys so much -- you'd better keep the livejournal going! <3

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
lotuslion
Apr. 15th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
From an old timer...

I think what you're doing - looking at the future, trying to prevent the club from stagnating and keeping it fresh and interesting - is absolutely the right thing to do. Even if you don't go with the suggestion you're currently proposing, it is very, very good to be talking about this. When I founded this club, I knew that there would be a challenge when the books were finally finished in how to keep the club relevant. I'm glad that you all are taking up that challenge. :)

My conceptualization of the club, when I formed it, was that it would be a place where fans of Harry Potter could come and know they had at least one thing in common with everyone else in the room. I do think that there will be several years more to come where the popularity of Harry Potter will sustain the club, what with the next two movies coming out. There are other clubs on campus dedicated to certain authors or books (like the Objectivist Society, which centers around Ayn Rand), but I don't think they have enjoyed the success of 3B, primarily because those books/authors are now part of something of a niche audience. It may be that HP turns into something like Star Wars, which has staying power throughout the years and needs nothing else to keep it relevant, but it is too early to tell that. I don't think redesigning the focus of the club is necessarily a bad thing, but I would caution against becoming too scifi/fantasy focused. What I mean is - don't aim to become PSSFS v.2.0. The reason being, scifi/fantasy has a much smaller audience than HP in general (at the moment at least) - for example, HP is the only fantasy series that I've ever read. If I were student coming into PSU now, I wouldn't join a scifi/fantasy club (which is why I never joined PSSFS when I was at PSU.) If you want to expand the description of the club to include a description of something like "Appreciates and experiences the world of scifi/fantasy literature, primarily that of the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling, but also including such works as X, Y, Z," I think that work well.

The other piece of advice I'll give is that a club's focus has less of an effect on its success than its leadership. There are clubs at PSU with much broader focuses than 3B that still suffer from stagnation, especially when the leadership wasn't able to come up with new and fresh ideas. The biggest thing is give students a reason to join your club - be able to answer the question "what do you do?" in such a way that is interesting and fun. The focus of a club gives its members something in common, but it isn't all that holds a club together. I do want to say that, from what I've heard, you all have done an OUTSTANDING job doing this and the club has benefited from smart, creative, and awesome leadership. :)

Of course, this is just the dollar-devalued 2 cents from an alum, so take from it what you will. Best of luck! :D
latog
Apr. 15th, 2008 12:00 pm (UTC)
I think it is an excellent idea!

The main problem PSSFS had was, well, no one really had any idea what to do because we were all really apathetic. We all liked reading science fiction and or fantasy, but organizing book discussion for certain times was always half assed and wound up failing because no one read anything.

That is with the exception of when Neville read us Alex Mack novelizations.

Definitely keep the things like hogsmead weekends and sorting ceremonies. Even if it is only a few things a year those few events keep people interested. The only times I remember a significant amount of people gong to PSSFS was when we did screenings of anime and had to plan for those. People like planning for things, going to a meeting to hang out with the same people you will hang out with anyway usually just fails.

I see no disadvantages to extending the scope of the club, I do remember hearing you inherited the PSSFS library as it is, yeah?
lotuslion
Apr. 15th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
I think they did inherit PSSFS's library, yeah.

I don't see disadvantages to extending the scope of the club, I guess what I was trying to say was just not to eradicate the "HP-ness" of it entirely in favor of a more general scifi/fantasy focus, because HP is so widely known. If the idea is to make it so that the focus of the club is something that new members know they will share an interest in with current members, then I think it's important not to totally cut out the HP factor.

The really awesome potential benefit to this is that people like me, who like HP but haven't read any other fantasy lit, might join the club and discover a lot more awesome books! :D
whitemudfounder
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, we did get the PSSFS library, with the qualification that if another scifi society comes along, we'd do our best to make sure they got the library once they became established.

I would feel absolutely terrible if the club ended up completely losing the Harry Potter aspect of itself. And, I'm all about keeping it HP-centric. I think that's why I'm a little bummed about the idea of expanding. I'm afraid that the club may completely lose what brought it together in the first place. However, the way the club has evolved, it's become a lot of "yeah, there's Harry Potter, but what really brings us together is the fact that we're all big giant dorks who want to play quidditch."
lotuslion
Apr. 15th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think you and I are in agreement with the thought process about the club. Like I said above though, this was something I knew lay ahead for the club, and as Elle said below - who would've thought 3B would be as successful as it is! I think everything will probably work out fine, even with broadening the focus. :)

The benefit to keeping it HP-centric is that the HP world provides as sort of automatic structure - Houses, Quidditch, Hogsmeade Weekends, etc. I do think though it is entirely possible to keep that structure and expand the club to include other books/authors/films. You could keep the HP world as the metastructure of the club, while incorporating aspects of other scifi/fantasy lit in much the same way - like for example, for a game at a meeting you could have a Mad-Libs or Pictionary like game using the alethiometer from the His Dark Materials (aka Golden Compass) series. (HDM is the only other fantasy lit I've read, so bear with the lame example, haha.)

What I'm thinking is basically to keep the club structured and organized as it is, but sort of pull things from different films/books that can transmit into club activities, the way Quidditch, Hogsmeade trips, the House Cup, etc have from HP. Maybe have a brainstorming session with people who have read a lot more than I have, lol, and see what you can come up with - this is how we came up with the club activities originally for 3B. Just try to think about things that are prominent or reoccurring in the story that lend themselves rather handily to club activities.

On the website and in the club servers description you could say that the club originated as a HP club, hence its name and structure, but now encompasses a much broader world of fantasy and science fiction. The more I think about this, the more I think it would work really, really well, and I'm a little sad I'm not there to help with the transformation! :D But I know you guys will do a fantastic job - us old fogies left the club in extremely good hands.
fizzlefly
Apr. 16th, 2008 04:52 am (UTC)
This is kind of where I was thinking the club might go with the new changes, and I think that would be most lovely, and well accepted by its members.
inflationary
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
Well, man, I agree.
thegreenfaerie
Apr. 15th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)

As another founding-era alum, I say do what makes the current incarnation of the organization happy. As Jessi pointed out, there was always the knowledge that the HP club might fail after all the books were out. But you know what else? This club started on a whim. We wanted to have fun, and we wanted to find others who wanted to have fun with us. Most of the founders were seniors, so there was no guarantee that the organization would carry on after we left. Within the first semester, we realized this group's potential, but I never expected to see the growth and stability that is Three Broomsticks today. I cannot be more proud that I had a hand in starting something that has continued to be awesome for so many years, and has brought together so many people.

Since I am an avid scifi and fantasy reader, I would love to see this group encourage further readership in those genres. In fact, my first elective course freshman year was a SciFi Lit class with Prof. Youngquist - if he's still around, he would be a great resource for interesting (and non-traditional) sci fi literature, but he's also a great speaker if you're looking to host an event.

I agree that you do not need to change the entire scope of 3B, nor do you need to resemble the SFS entirely. But incorporating new ideas is a great way to open up the club to new members, and to retain current members by keeping discussions interesting. If you were looking for the blessings of former members, you certainly have mine. Good luck, and keep us posted on whatever you decide!

elle
Head of House (2004)
Slytherins Do It Better.

cailatan
Apr. 15th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
Fuck yeah — Prof Youngquist is my thesis supervisor and pretty much my favorite professor at PSU!

::high five::
thegreenfaerie
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)

That is awesome! i'm so glad he's still doing his thing. To prepare for his class, i read several books in the Dune series, and i purchased a novel or two of Asimov. DAMN was i wrong about what to expect from Youngquist! haha

Some of my favorite books (of all time, not just in the SciFi genre) were introduced to me in his class. i get into random conversations about Ballard (and i look super smart for knowing something so esoteric!). You know the new movie, something or other "Mimzy"? it's based on a short story, "Mimsy were the Borogoves" which i read in that class. Ahh, the fond memories!

So what's your thesis?

Also, you totally DID make an icon of Shane, the Fonz! You = Win. Do i know you IRL?
cailatan
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
You know, I just stumbled onto that tidbit about the Mimzy thing the other day while wikibinging, but I've never read "Mimsy were the Borogoves." I ought to, though.

The title of my thesis is "The Stupendous Mechanism: Reflections and Revisions of Mary Wollstonecraft in Mary Shelley's Reproductive Ideology." Basically, it's about how Mary Wollstonecraft was all, "babies should come from your BRAIN!" and then she had a baby, but having a baby killed her 'cause that happened a lot in those days, and her baby, who happened to be Mary Shelley, read her mom's books and learned about her life and was like "NO! babies should come from your VAGINA and your FEELINGS, and if you try to do it any other way everything will get SERIOUSLY FUCKED UP!" and wrote a bunch of fiction to that effect. So they were both pretty much like babymaking=awesome but they had totally different ways of thinking about being a lady. The end.

I remember that you were at Yule Ball two years ago, but I don't think we've met at any other time. I was the one who came as ice (my roommate was fire).
thegreenfaerie
Apr. 15th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)

I refused to see the movie in the theatre because The Masses didn't know to whom they should pay homage. i should probably find a free/cheap way to view it now that it's out on DVD. i still haven't seen the recent movie Crash because the only version of Crash that is valid IMO is Ballard's. And what a version it is!

That's one hell of a thesis! I had no freaking clue that Mary Wollstonecraft begot Mary Shelley! I feel that my education was incomplete! Does your major require a thesis (ahh, WMNST!) or are you one of those snooty honors kids, and therefore, a Ravenclaw? i can cope with Ravenclaws, especially if they have ebil tendencies.
cailatan
Apr. 15th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
I watched the Crash movie because I thought it was based on Ballard's novel, but apparently it's something totally different that just happens to share the title. Bummer.

And yeah, all the biographical stuff surrounding Wollstonecraft & Shelley is pretty much awesome. You may have read a recent post on Aly's LJ about my wish to one day spawn a tv series about the Romantic poets.

I am indeed both in the honors college & the head of house for the 3B Honors College (aka Ravenclaw). I'm an English major. I didn't know wmnst requires a thesis for everybody — that sucks.
thegreenfaerie
Apr. 15th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)

Haha! Well, try to find a copy of the 1973 version of the movie Crash - but be warned, it's not for the faint of heart. =D

Well, at least you're not a Huffer.

Ha, yeah, WMNST spends a lot of time yelling from the rooftops about how we shouldn't have to prove to other departments that we're a valid, respectable major. So all WMNST majors are required to prove their validity and earn respect by writing a thesis. Incongruent much? It's ok. I survived. Anyway, if you need a proof reader, i would love to check out your thesis.

Do you love how we've hijacked this public forum for our personal chat? I love it. i'll go add you to my flist now, so you'll be my new lj buddy!
whitemudfounder
Apr. 15th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
You know you love us Ravenclaws, who else would you get to help you in super-villainous planning?
thegreenfaerie
Apr. 15th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)

You are correct, and I appreciate that thing you did for me that one time, even though it meant giving up one of your fellow Ravenclaw buddies. You earned your honorary Slytherin membership card that day, and it won't be forgotten.

:p
choperena
Apr. 15th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
I remember one idea going around a while ago was making it something like "The Three Broomsticks: Harry Potter and British Fantasy Literature Club". This would be a slight modification, enough to increase the scope, but still small enough so that you can still justify the whole HP theme.

And as everyone has said, the events are what make the club interesting. I would love to be able to see Hogsmead Weekends and Quidich games at least once a month.
village_skeptic
Apr. 16th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
As much as I love the Pratchett, the Gaiman and the Adams, I think that JUST expanding it to British fantasy is kind of limiting...not to mention kind of problematic from a post-colonial perspective, LOL.
kirathe5th
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
I'm fairly opposed to this idea, mostly because what we have here is something that I didn't find at any other college I applied to last year. If we were to change to become the Scifi/Fantasy club, we would lose our uniqueness and become a club that just recently failed due to lack of interest. Also, this is mostly irrelevant, but for all the good Sci Fi/ Fantasy books i've read, I've found about 10 that were awful. Besides, as to the argument that there's nothing to go on, we can just find new activities to do. I know I don't have much experience in what has gone on in the past, but I figure I may as well voice my opinion.
thegreenfaerie
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)

for all the good Sci Fi/ Fantasy books i've read, I've found about 10 that were awful.

While we feel that the Harry Potter series is wonderful, remember that there are a ton of people who think HP is awful for various reasons.

/playing Devil's Advocate. Or should i say Voldemort's Advocate!?
whitemudfounder
Apr. 16th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, voice your opinion! This is good!

This is one of my main concerns about all of this talking. Wouldn't broadening our scope take away a lot of the uniqueness that we do have? And, yes, there are still many ideas for activities and the like to go off of - perhaps with the completely new set of officers next year, new ideas will be ready to flourish.

My point is not to change the club, it's to get us thinking about things we can do to make the club better. We may very much decide to shelf this idea - or to completely give it up. I brought it up because I thought it was something that the general club would be interested in thinking about.

One of my other big concerns is that, if we do expand to cover scifi/fantasy interests outside of Harry potter - are we denying another scifi/fantasy club from forming which would serve those needs a whole lot better?
village_skeptic
Apr. 16th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
If we do expand to cover scifi/fantasy interests outside of Harry potter - are we denying another scifi/fantasy club from forming which would serve those needs a whole lot better?

If we don't expand to cover SF/fantasy interests other than Harry Potter, are we denying ourselves the opportunity to bring in new interests and new members?

Anyway, taste dictates the market, to some degree. There hasn't been a new club formed in the absence of PSSFS...and if we add this element, and people join for that, but don't like what we're doing, then they can split off.
whitemudfounder
Apr. 16th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
Yes, voice your opinion! This is good!

This is one of my main concerns about all of this talking. Wouldn't broadening our scope take away a lot of the uniqueness that we do have? And, yes, there are still many ideas for activities and the like to go off of - perhaps with the completely new set of officers next year, new ideas will be ready to flourish.

My point is not to change the club, it's to get us thinking about things we can do to make the club better. We may very much decide to shelf this idea - or to completely give it up. I brought it up because I thought it was something that the general club would be interested in thinking about.

One of my other big concerns is that, if we do expand to cover scifi/fantasy interests outside of Harry potter - are we denying another scifi/fantasy club from forming which would serve those needs a whole lot better?
declanfuel27
Apr. 16th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
You guys (girls) are worried that the club might fall apart because the last book has come out. I think that it can hold together because there are still two more movies to be released. It is much but it gives a time and I dont think we need to rush into changing yet. Also, as more graduating classes enter Penn State, we gain kids who have grown up with the books at a yonger age. I didn't start reading the books until the summer of my junior year in high school. The reason I got interested was because my dad was reading them to my younger brother, who was too young to read them on his own. Now, he and a lot of his friends are freshmen in high school. From what I can tell there is a big percentage of HP fans in that high school alone. Spanier did us a huge favor by mentioning our club at fall freshmen orientation. If we can just get it out there that we exist, we can still pull in a lot of kids.
whitemudfounder
Apr. 16th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the double post
village_skeptic
Apr. 16th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
I think that it's a wonderful idea. People not associated with the club who know that I'm involved with 3B have asked me, "What are you going to do now that the books are over?" This would allow us to move in a new direction while still keeping the quirky, Potter-related spirit of the club, I think.

Besides, as I was saying at dinner last night, the focus of the leadership and the interests of the club members are going to affect the tone of the club anyway, no matter what the constitution says. I think this takes control of that and turns it into a strength rather than just drift.
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