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Thursday, December 9, 2021

University opens new Interfaith Meditation and Prayer Room in Trabant Student Center

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Aidan Fraser/THE REVIEW
The Interfaith Meditation and Prayer Room, the second space intended for interfaith worship and reflection on campus, has opened in Trabant Student Center in Room 223.
Aidan Fraser/THE REVIEW

The new location in Trabant includes prayer mats, chairs and cushions, as well as decor like a privacy screen, small plants and art on the wall.

Aidan Fraser/THE REVIEW
The new location in Trabant includes prayer mats, chairs and cushions, as well as decor like a privacy screen, small plants and art on the wall.
Aidan Fraser/THE REVIEW
The new location in Trabant includes prayer mats, chairs and cushions, as well as decor like a privacy screen, small plants and art on the wall.

BY
Senior Reporter

The Interfaith Meditation and Prayer Room, the second space intended for interfaith worship and reflection on campus, has opened in Trabant Student Center in Room 223. The original Reflection Space in Morris Library includes some chairs, an open space on the floor and a bookshelf for the storage of prayer mats, religious texts and similar items. The new location in Trabant has a similar setup, with prayer mats, chairs and cushions, as well as decor like a privacy screen, small plants and art on the wall.

Nona Holy, the campus pastor for LUMOS, a Presbyterian ministry registered student organization, expressed that she was thrilled to have a new interfaith space. Although Holy practices the Presbyterian faith, her group is open to students of all faiths and focuses on discussion about what students “hold to be sacred.”

Holy, as well as other religious leaders on campus, frequently meet to discuss current campus events and were aware of the possibility of this new space. They were very excited about a central space on campus that highlights spirituality.

“‘All the different groups play well together’ — that’s been our mantra,” Holy said. “And so to have a neutral space that everyone can use, we’ll be able to do that well, I believe.”

Muslim Student Association Advisor Ismat Shah conveyed that he and his colleagues were very excited to have another religious space on campus that can be used for daily prayer. Shah expressed that traveling to Morris Library’s Reflection Space five times a day can be logistically challenging, so having another option “solves some of the issues.”

Shah believes that the university is currently doing a good job of providing religious resources, such as the two interfaith meditation and prayer rooms, as well as Ablution and Washing Stations installed in 2018 in the first floor bathrooms in Perkins Student Center as a designated area to do a quick hand or feet cleansing. However, he believes that the university could be doing more to support religious students on campus.

“Having one more [interfaith meditation and prayer room] say, in Perkins, sort of the same idea of what we have in Trabant, would help out a lot,” Shah said. “Because again, it’s a convenience thing.”

Overall, religious advisors at the university appear excited for this new initiative and the opportunities it will provide for students of all faiths. While students consider this new interfaith space to be productive, many of them were not aware of its existence.

“I think it’s a good move, but I think they should make it more well known because I didn’t even know about it,” Hannah Townsend, a sophomore wildlife ecology and conservation major, said.

The students who are aware of this new interfaith space, however, think that it is an impactful way for the university to support religious students. Michael Bly, a sophomore elementary teacher education major, expressed this sentiment.

“This space is effective in promoting religion as an aspect of identity that the university is now giving more attention to,” Bly said. “They are creating a safe space for students to retain this part of their cultural identity while they are studying at school.”

The Interfaith Meditation and Prayer Room is open daily, and has the same hours as Trabant Student Center. Although there are no details currently out about whether those who use the room need to adhere to any specific COVID-19 regulations, students and faculty at the university are excited to use the space and are grateful for the university’s initiative.

“It just kind of, you know, shows number one that the university is appreciating diversity and religion, providing whatever they can,” Shah said.

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