Owl Post letters arrive across campus

Hannah Peters | Staff Writer | As part of Duquesne's Owl Post letters, recipients received both a letter and a bag that contained a piece of candy. All proceeds from the letter sales went toward the Mario Lemieux Foundation.

Hannah Peters | Staff Writer

Oct. 27, 2022

A disappointing part of living in the Muggle world is not being able to participate in what is considered by wizards “the normal way” of communicating—Owl Post.

As much as some may wish that Hogwarts was real and that personal messenger pets existed, it’s likely that Duquesne’s staff is appreciative of the lack of rats, toads, cats and owls scampering around campus.

Fortunately, Assumption Hall resident assistants found a way to bring this part of the wizarding world to Duquesne’s campus without extra critters running around. Owl Post letters went on sale for residents to send to their friends across campus in a candy gram-like fashion between Oct. 17 and Oct. 21.

The letters were $1 each, and students could buy them online via a QR code posted around campus, or in-person at Assumption Hall. The QR code led to a Google form, where students filled out who the letter was for and the message they wanted to send to that person.

The RA’s Owl Post promised to be Harry Potter-themed, and recipients also received a piece of candy.

Additionally, all of the proceeds raised were put toward the Mario Lemieux Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based charity dedicated to cancer research, patient care and supporting families in challenging medical situations.

The Owl Post will to be delivered throughout this week by the RAs of each recipient.

This event was held as an RA program in accordance with the Honors College Harry Potter Week, a recurring event at Duquesne. However, this year marked the first time that the Owl Post made its way to campus.

Although they don’t have feathers or sharply hooked beaks, the original creators and stand-in owls behind Duquesne’s Owl Post are three Honors College RAs—Libby Corbett, Evelyn Foster and Evie Sarle.

Corbett said that the origins of the Honors College Harry Potter Week can be traced to Honors College Director Kathleen Roberts, who is a huge Harry Potter fan.

In fact, Roberts took her love for Harry Potter so far that she turned it into a way for students to earn college credit. Roberts designed the “The Hallows and the Holy: The Theological World of Harry Potter” course here at Duquesne.

“We were trying to think of something to do that’s Harry Potter-related, and I was thinking about how they get their mail in the dining hall—when the owls come—and I thought well, we could do that, but just drop it off at people’s doors,” Foster said.

With a collective, exasperated laugh, the trio said that the total time it took to create all of the Owl Post letters took between eight and nine hours.

“Each customized message had to be matched up with the right envelope and person, and then their room number, so it was just a lot of assembly and logistics of making sure they get to the right place,” Sarle said.

Each card also needed to be cut from the template, folded, taped and then sealed with a wax stamp of the Hogwarts crest. In addition to the cards, the group also made personalized paper bags labeled with “Duquesne Owl Post” tags.

“I love Harry Potter, so we went all out,” Corbett said.

They seemed surprised to receive responses requesting that the Owl Post be held again.

“I don’t know if we can do many more of these with just the three of us,” Corbett said. “We’d need a whole crew.”

They ended up selling and making 117 Owl Post letters, and due to a few extra-generous students, they raised $120 for the Lemieux Foundation.

“We were happy with the turnout,” Sarle said. “It was pretty good for our little program.”

With 117 students receiving a bit of magic at their doorstep, there’s a little taste of what it might feel like to be at the Duquesne’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, even if there are no wands, secret passageways or a Forbidden Forest.