On the second floor of the military science building there is a small room with eggshell walls and a lamp in the corner. At first sight, it’s just another, admittedly tidy, room. This room, which opened on March 28, is a reflection room.
The purpose of the room is allow people to go and privately pray, meditate or reflect regardless of their religious beliefs or non-belief .
“It fills a need,” said Rob Llewellyn, Immigration Advisor for the Office of Global Engagement.
The Office of Global Engagement and the USU Interfaith Initiative worked together to bring the room to campus. A press release from The Office of Global Engagement said that a 2014 survey of 120 students, faculty, staff and community faith members found that people wanted a place to express religious views on campus, but many didn’t feel safe doing so.
In the past there was a place like the reflection room through USU housing, but due to rule changes with locking areas with housing they couldn’t prove it anymore. So for many years there hasn’t been a place like a reflection room at USU.
“Over the last few years many people have been working on finding a new location for a reflection room,” Llewellyn said.
However, finding a place for this had its own difficulties.
“This can be a challenge working with public school restrictions,” said Dr. Glass-Coffin in a press release about the room. Glass-Coffin is Professor of Anthropology at USU and founder of the Interfaith Initiative. “Students need to be able to express their world view both in religious contexts and non-religious contexts.”
Though the room may be small, its creators say what is important is that it is on-campus and available to everyone.
“I think this is very exciting, there is many students on campus that would love a centralized location where they can go and pray or reflect and it’s difficult for some of them to do that without just going back to their apartments off-campus and that could take a lot of time,” Llewellyn said. “So this is a really nice thing that we can provide for students.”
Organizers hope that this room will set a precedent for future reflections rooms as new buildings come to campus.
The room has little decorations in it, and nothing on the walls, but that is by design.
“We’ve kept the setup of the room very, very simple so that it’s not tailored for a specific faith,” Llewellyn said. “it’s for everyone regardless of what they believe.”
Llewellyn did say people are welcome to put up their own decorations as long as they take them down when they leave.
The room is in Military Science 213A. It is open during regular office hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students, faculty and staff can use it in that time frame and ask the front desk in the Military Science Building if they need help finding it. Organizers just ask people to be respectful of the space and of other people’s time.