Interfaith Prayer/Meditation Spaces

7 Replies

Interfaith Prayer/Meditation Spaces

Posted by Joseph Hayes on Jul 11, 2017 1:47 pm

Does anybody have them in their facilities and would you be willing to share any policies/procedures you use to manage them?
Thanks!
Joe Hayes
IUPUI Campus Center
hayesjom@iupui.edu
 
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Re: Interfaith Prayer/Meditation Spaces

Posted by Jason Levy on Jul 12, 2017 8:50 am

HI Joe - we don;t do it the best way, but we took a space in our student org. village (what would have been an office) out of the assignable mix and made a small inter-faith prayer room.  We basically took all the furniture out of the space and took the lock off the door.  This is a 92 sq. ft. space and is certianly not idea for a variety of reasons, but it allowed us to create a small space that individuals or small groups could use.

We are also working to create a space on our Health Sciences Center campus.  As space was recently approved for use and we are 'upfitting' it now.  It was previously a quiet lounge that has been otherwise used/occupied for the last few years.  It's approx. 240 sq. ft. and needs some paint and carpet before we put into use, but it will be done before the start of the school year in August.  This space will also be signed as an "all-faith" prayer and reflection space and will be open when the building is open.  As it is on the HSC campus, the population is a bit smaller and it should serve the community well.

There is a push to make a larger space - or to adjust our reservations policies to allow for more "prayer" or other fait oriented space use by individuals and student groups on the Main campus, but we haven't gone down the road very far yet.  it;s had to justify taking meeting space out of inventory when we are so strapped for inventory in that category as well.

Hope that helps.  Let me know if you want more info.
Jason

Re: Interfaith Prayer/Meditation Spaces

Posted by Alex Accetta on Sep 12, 2017 12:17 am

Joe,

Portland State offers a non-denominational Quiet Prayer and Meditation Lounge. It has turned into a de facto place for our muslim students to do their prayers as well. Our student activities office manages the space.  I'd contact 
Aimee ShattuckAssistant Dean of Student Life and Director of SALP
503.725.5649
shattuck@pdx.edu

She's done great work with her staff on the space.

- Alex

Re: Interfaith Prayer/Meditation Spaces

Posted by Giancarlo Brugnolo on Sep 13, 2017 9:41 am

Hey Joe,

We took a small office and converted the space into a Prayer/Meditation Space. The space is an open space for all students to use, and is overseen by our campus reservationist, who also does Spiritual Development for our office, and a undergraduate student. Unfortunately, we do not track usage of the space, so I cannot speak to how much it is utilized, but our reservationist might have a better idea. I will speak to her and see if she can reach out to you, but feel free to reach out to her as well (Dora Eaton- eatond@philau.edu).  

Thanks Joe!

GC

Re: Interfaith Prayer/Meditation Spaces

Posted by Ryan Gaerke on Dec 19, 2017 11:29 am

Joe,

We have a Meditation Room, It has recently been an elevated topic for our Dean of Students and Provost looking to make our meditation room more visible, accessible, and furnished for the community. We currently have a small meeting room designated but not prominent for meditation and interfaith use. It opens when the building opens, and closes when the building closes. We have signage at the room indicating....
 " Meditation Room: Please use on a first-come first-serve basis. *This Room is for individual students to pray and/or meditate. It is not to be used as an office, study room, or meeting room. Please limit your stay to accommodate others who also want to use the room."
We would like to get a broader sample of what others are doing with their spaces, so I've accumulated a list of questions that, if able, anyone willing to contribute or share could answer, may be of good use by the community members. 
Q1: Is the Meditation/Prayer Room located in your Student Union, or other facility? If other, where?
Q2: What is it called? How is it labeled? ie: prayer room, meditation room, etc.?
Q3: Who Maintains and Manages the space? what department? students? professionals? etc. 
Q4: What kind of furnishings do you have provided in the space? 
Q5: What are the hours of Operation for the space?
Q6: How Private is the space? is it a closed room, windows on doors, blinds on doors, etc.
Q7: Do you have a foot washing station for faith's needing to clean feet? If now, how do you accommodate or do you?
Q8 How do students gain access to space? Does it need opened by a student or staff member, is it just open and available, do students check out keys or have swipe, etc.?

Thanks to all and anyone who is will to give a little input, and share what they are doing in regards to this this topic!

Regards and Sincerest Gratitude,
Ryan Gaerke
University of Cincinnati

Re: Interfaith Prayer/Meditation Spaces

Posted by Joseph Hayes on Dec 20, 2017 9:37 am

Here at IUPUI...
Q1: Yes, on the lower level of our Campus Center
Q2: Meditation and Reflection Space
Q3: Our undergraduate student government is the official sponsor of the space but our building staff treats it like a typical meeting room reservation
Q4: Empty Room with a stack of chairs in the corner
Q5: This fall we hosted the space Monday's - Thursday's from Noon - 9pm but found little usage in the evenings so for the spring we are adjusting to 12:30-6:30p.
Q6: Our room is very private, no windows, in the basement.
Q7: Our foot bath is on Level 4, most of our students wash in the Lower Level restroom.
Q8: Doors are open, anyone can access, our Building Managers do rounds to track usage.

thanks,
Joe

Re: Interfaith Prayer/Meditation Spaces

Posted by Dora Eaton on Dec 20, 2017 10:10 am

Hi Ryan!

I am happy to help!  Initially, we also had a small office space for our students however, it was furnished in such a way that it was both uncomfortable, and slightly offensive to our Muslim population.  When I was asked to take over the responsibility of Spiritual Development on our campus, we converted our Spiritual Development office space in the campus center into an Interfaith Prayer Space.  (I attached a flyer for you)  I also met with students of various faith practice, with the help of a student staff programming assistant, and initiated a visit with Muslim sisters from our campus to a New Shahadah class to gain better understanding of Muslim faith practices.  Overall, our Muslm students were the most underserved on our campus and the current political climate was not helping to create connections.  In fact, our Muslim students created a Multicultural Student Association (MCSA) rather than and Muslim Student Assocaition (MSA), to avoid negative stereotypes from developing here.  The bottom line is that however you need to connect with the students, do it!  A little effort goes a very long way in gaining their support for your prayer space.  Once they know you are available and open to their help they will surely correct your errors! (hopefully, with kindness)  Ok, below are the answers to your questions:

Q1: Is the Meditation/Prayer Room located in your Student Union, or other facility? Yes, it is on the 3rd floor across from the Office of Student Engagement
Q2: What is it called? How is it labeled? ie: prayer room, meditation room, etc.?  It is called the, "Interfaith Prayer Space" 
Q3: Who Maintains and Manages the space? what department? students? professionals? etc. The Office of Student Engagement, Spiritual Development Coordinator (that's me) I am lucky to have a student-staff SD progarmming assistant 5 hrs. weekly - he assists in connecting with our students about the space and needs (i.e. requested prayer books, artifacts, etc...)
Q4: What kind of furnishings do you have provided in the space? We furnished the room with a cabinet for the Hindu alter, prayer books, artifacts (i.e. a Quran holder, prayer mats, chimes, rosary beads...), an ottoman that seats 2 ppl and has 3 smaller expandable seats, a drop-leaf table attached to the wall for bible study, a shoe rack, a rug and 4 kneeling benches.  We also have an electric salt lamp and yoga seats (basically, thicker cushions for meditation)  I also hung a sign-in sheet with date, time, and use (i.e. Christian prayer, meditation...) this does not request any identifying info. - it's just so we can keep track of usage.  Our SD office email is also listed if students need to reach out.
Q5: What are the hours of Operation for the space? The Kanbar Campus Center hours are typically from 7:30 am - midnight
Q6: How Private is the space? is it a closed room, windows on doors, blinds on doors, etc.  There is a privacy stick-on window decal that covers the glass door, and a flip sign is hung that notifies students if the room is in use or available.  The room has windows to our Balcony however, there are privacy blinds and the Balcony is only used 1-2 times a year.  
Q7: Do you have a foot washing station for faith's needing to clean feet? If now, how do you accommodate or do you?  We have a rest room two doors down from the prayer space that our Muslim students access when needed.
Q8 How do students gain access to space? Does it need opened by a student or staff member, is it just open and available, do students check out keys or have swipe, etc.?
The space is unlocked by our building managers every day along with other locations in our campus center.

Hopefully, this information is helpful to you. (more than, "a little input" perhaps, LOL!)  I would love to hear back from you or anyone else to chat more about how we can continue to meet the needs of students in the area of Spiritual Development. 

Happy New Year!

Dora 


Dora D. Eaton, MBA, NCC    
Office of Student Engagement

Coordinator, Spiritual Development
 
Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)
Kanbar Campus Center,  KCC 317
4201 Henry Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144
T 215-951-5346
eatond@philau.edu

PhilaU.edu   
 
How are you feeling? Take a brief screening here: http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/jeff
 


 
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Re: Interfaith Prayer/Meditation Spaces

Posted by Ryan Gaerke on Dec 20, 2017 10:22 am

Thank you Joe and Dora. I appreciate the quick contribution to the discussion. The info shared is valuable and greatly appreciated. 

Regards & Sincerest Gratitude,
Ryan