Merlin’s Beard! Dumbledore’s Army and ASI join houses for a magical event

Dedicated to all Potterheads out there, Dumbledore’s Army and ASI’s Bronco Events and Activities Team collaborated to create a virtual escape room called the Race to the Sorcerer’s Stone on Oct. 30.

The escape room featured questions, riddles and puzzles based on the “Harry Potter” series. Participants were split into teams of two and tasked with brainstorming in breakout rooms to conquer the challenges. Many participants donned “Harry Potter” costumes to represent their favorite Hogwarts houses.

The riddles, displayed on Google Forms, were accompanied by narratives and movie scene photos, bringing the escape room experience to life. BEAT members moderated the questions and offered hints to teams that needed help solving some of the riddles.

Previously participating in another virtual escape room experience, BEAT Student Activities Assistant Makda Tekeste Berhan came up with the escape room idea and collaboration.

“We wanted to collab with Dumbledore’s Army to create a Halloween vibe,” Tekeste Berhan said. “I just love ‘Harry Potter.’ We knew we wanted to do a virtual escape room; it was just a matter of applying the idea.”

Dumbledore’s Army is a “Harry Potter”-themed club, uniting Potterheads from the Cal Poly Pomona community. ASI’s BEAT and Dumbledore’s Army spent more than a month prepping for the event, designing the virtual experience from scratch.

August Benoit, a fourth-year visual communication design student and president of Dumbledore’s Army, said, “Dumbledore’s Army did the facts, the trivia and narrative —the story part of it. ASI did the technical stuff, built the forms and marketing.”

According to Benoit, the team considered incorporating the house points system that is commonly explained throughout the movie series. However, they anticipated that certain houses may have more members, making the competition unfair.

“Instead, we decided to break participants up into two teams. That’s how the idea for the Race to Sorcerer’s Stone came up, we’d race to the finish,” Benoit added.

The event featured both current CPP students and alumni. After completing the escape room, many participants remained in the call to engage in more “Harry Potter” discussions.

Jocelyn Chung, the student activities supervisor at BEAT, said, “The students were very engaged and formed a tight-knit community. Ten brains are better than one when it comes to solving a puzzle!”

Despite the pandemic, Dumbledore’s Army continues to build and maintain relationships with its members through weekly Zoom meetings, a private Discord channel and Saturday night “Harry Potter” movie marathons.

Sharing her experience as a club member, second-year anthropology student Kaitlyn Cruz said, “I got to make new friends and geek out over Harry Potter. I’ve only been a part of this club for a few months, but D.A. has provided me with a safe space full of amazing people. I always look forward to club meetings, and it’s definitely the highlight of my Thursdays.”

Dumbledore’s Army is still accepting new members and plans to host more events in the near future. On Nov. 13, the club will be hosting a Yule Ball in reference to the formal Christmas celebration that Hogwarts students attended in the series. It will include a cosplay competition and members will be playing “Just Dance.” For access to their Discord server, visit

To connect with Dumbledore’s Army, visit its Instagram @CPPDumbledoresArmy.

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