By Chase Little, February 26 2015 —
University is difficult. Chasing a perfect GPA can be a crippling source of stress. If we add in non-academic struggles, life can be dark at times. And in times of need, many students turn to prayer for solace. Religious students deserve designated spaces where they can pray.
Around 1,700 people utilize the multi-faith prayer rooms every week. But the space isn’t equipped to handle that many people. The rooms offered are small, and students are often forced to pray in stairwells and hallways.
Most students aren’t religious. But just because religious students aren’t in the majority doesn’t mean their needs shouldn’t be met.
Being religious doesn’t have to imply a total devotion to faith. Even students who aren’t devout might be comfortable with the idea of a higher power. Prayer, alongside spaces where we can freely practice it, is a valuable resource.
These rooms provide a private space for students that reaffirm both the spiritual and practical importance of prayer to devout students. For religious students, prayer offers a few brief moments of peace every day. Whether or not you believe in the spiritual power of prayer, there’s obvious benefits to taking a few minutes every day for inward reflection.
While prayer might conjure up an image of counting rosary beads or swaying back and forth, prayer is common to the vast majority of religions. It’s more than directing specific thoughts to a person, deity or object. Prayer provides moments of clarity in our hectic lives and allows students to fulfil their religious or cultural obligations. Multi-faith prayer spaces can also free us from the tensions of religious division. In fact, worshipping in the company of others can create a sense of community.
If we consider the amount of time students spend on campus each day, a large designated prayer space should exist. Having the space to worship according to one’s religious traditions is important to the student experience.
Equality doesn’t mean that everyone is given the exact same resources. It means that students are given the amenities that lead to them having an equal quality of life. For religious students, this includes the ability to carry out religious practices and rituals at school.
The need for a larger designated prayer space is vital to improving student life on campus. It’s also a valid demand of religious students. Almost anyone could understand this if they just found a quiet moment to look inside and think.