The Indiana Memorial Union has opened an Interfaith Prayer and Reflection room in the K.P. Williams room, located on the second floor of the IMU. A student-driven coordinated effort between many offices, this space provides students with a quiet place to decompress or pray throughout the day.
Ruhan Syed, a senior political science major and former vice president of the IU Student Government, stated that this project has been in development since his freshman year but only recently took shape. “Obtaining space for the prayer and reflection room was a priority for Student Government and involved talking to many deans and departments,” he said. Syed shared that Hank Walter, executive director of the IMU, and Dean Dave O’Guinn, vice provost for student affairs and dean of students, were instrumental in making the prayer room a reality.
However, Syed notes that although student government often gets credit for projects like the Prayer and Reflection Room, student-driven efforts make them possible. “It was students who brought up the idea of taking that first step to making life better for students on campus,” Syed said. “They did a lot of the research, and they laid the groundwork and approached the student leaders.”
The current prayer room can house up to ten students looking for a quiet place to pray or decompress. “This is the result of students and staff working together,” Mara Dahlgren, director of student involvement and leadership, said. “We are here for students and want this prayer room to be a place where students of all faiths can come and go as they please.”
However, the interfaith room does not have all the amenities or space the IMU would like it to have in order to meet the various needs of students, which Dahlgren hopes to improve on. “We will continue to evolve the space to make sure students have the best experience in the Prayer and Reflection Room as possible.”