The Council for Campus Equity (CCE) has opened a Prayer/Meditation Room for all students in the Hub. The Acronym interviewed CCE Advisor and IMSA’s DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Associate Rodrigo Sanchez for more information.
The idea for a Prayer Room came about when members of IMSA’s Muslim community asked for a dedicated space in the Main Building to worship a couple of years ago. As more and more requests for a Prayer Room were identified as a pressing concern, the creation of a Prayer Room became a priority on CCE’s agenda. Back then, CCE did not have the capacity to create one but remained in contact with the Muslim community to look for a possible solution. That solution came last year when CCE got an Innovation Grant (a grant awarded to IMSA students to aid them in furthering innovative projects), and the funds were used to create the room.
Although the Prayer Room is in the Hub, which is meant to be a safe space for the Black and Latinx communities, Sanchez says those communities have granted permission to use the space for worship. He adds that the room is accessible to all IMSA students, regardless of race or religion. Currently, the Prayer Room is intended for student use only but exceptions for staff members can be made after consultation with students.
Students can access the Prayer Room from 8:30 AM–5:30 PM during Ramadan and 11:30 AM–5:30 PM otherwise. The maximum capacity is four students at a time. There is a sign-up board outside the room so others can know when someone is using the room. As for prayer materials, currently there are yoga mats, prayer mats, prayer beads, rosaries, meditation blocks, and dividers. Sanchez and CCE hope to get more prayer materials, and are accepting donations. Such an elaborate arrangement can go to waste if the IMSA community does not know about the Prayer Room. To combat this, Sanchez plans to put up posters both online and physically to spread the word. He also plans to hang signage near the Hub so students passing by can see what is going on.
Students have expressed generally positive reviews of the Prayer Room, saying it is a much needed space for them. CCE Member Andrew Wong (‘25) has expressed that he has been working on a project to educate and spread awareness about different religions to the IMSA community and that the Prayer Room is a welcome aid to his efforts to do so. An anonymous student said that they wanted to use the Prayer Room to worship in peace and praised the initiative. Those who are interested in the IMSA community now have the opportunity to do so as well.