By Victoria Ferguson, president, and Austin Ulugalu, student leader council director for the Residence Hall Association 

The ablution room where shoes are removed and hands and feet are to be washed before entering the multi-use space.

The ablution room where shoes are removed and hands and feet are to be washed before entering the multi-use space.

Diversity and inclusion is a culture that Housing & Residential Education (HRE), in conjunction with the Residence Hall Association (RHA), actively strives for through education, programs and resources. To meet that goal, HRE and RHA are very excited to announce the grand opening of the new HRE meditation space that is located in the ground level of Chapel Glen 803. Opened March 1, 2018, the meditation space will offer any resident or HRE staff, regardless of religious denomination, the opportunity to utilize the space for meditative or prayer purposes.

Within this space, there will be two joint rooms. The first room provides an ablution space to wash the hands and feet, while the second room will serve as the meditation room. Within the meditation space, there will be various materials provided in order to fully support residents’ religious practices.  These include pieces of art decorated on the walls, prayer rugs, an indicator pointing east and meditation mats.

The new inclusive meditation and prayer space in Housing and Residential Education, open to residents and employees.

The path to opening this new facility started over a year ago when professor Caren Frost and her honors course reached out to the U community to learn more about the Muslim population. They found that while Muslim students felt welcome, they had valid concerns about feeling less supported. Through this course, conversations started about providing a more inclusive and supportive space for these students. These findings were shared with HRE and after RHA found out that some Muslim residents were not feeling very supported, both were honored to fund this project through to completion.

HRE and RHA aspire to create an inclusive and engaged community where all members thrive. With the new meditation space, it is the hope that more residents will feel better welcomed, included and supported. Although this has been a long process, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all the many campus partners and dedicated students that contributed to making the meditation space possible. We look forward with enthusiasm to further benefiting the residential experience. There is a quote of Muslim origin which states, “A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.” And it was the dedicated work of many campus entities and students that have made this possibility.