Southwestern College students now have a safe, open and inclusive space to think, de-stress, meditate and pray thanks to the Associated Student Organization’s brand new Meditation Room.
The room, located on the east side of the Student Union, will serve as a space for all students who need a quiet sanctuary on campus. Converted from an old storage room, the Meditation Room has mats, partitions, benches, a rug and more to help students.
While this space is open to any and all students, one of the largest needs came from the Muslim students at Southwestern College. Najma Abdi, vice president of the Muslim Student Association, use to look and wonder where she could find a safe space to pray on campus. She’d ask to use her counselor’s office or ask if she could use one of the ASO’s offices. Now Abdi and every other Muslim student on campus don’t ever have to wonder again.
“I am so proud to attend a college that is inclusive of my religion and my culture,” she said. “This is a monumental moment. We finally have a place to pray.”
The idea for the space began last year under the leadership of Mona Dibas, former ASO president, Nada Dibas, former ASO public relations vice president, and Yasmeen Obeid, former ASO social vice president. Those three set in motion a vision for the space, and it was Kirstyn Smith, the current ASO president, that kept that vision alive and led to the Meditation Room becoming a reality.
“It hurt me personally seeing my Muslim friends having a hard time figuring out where to pray and not knowing where to go,” Smith said. “One of the goals we have at our college is to help every student with their needs on campus, this helps address a need we weren’t meeting.”
The space is open Monday through Thursday, 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.