ICSR opens spaces for those of all faiths

The ICSR has designated two small private rooms in Tate Page Hall located in the 108 hallway from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. These rooms are used as prayer/meditation spaces for students and faculty who may need it so they have a private area to practice their religion in Bowling Green. Ebony Cox/HERALD

Shantel Pettway

The Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility recently dedicated two rooms in Tate Page Hall for prayer and meditation.

The mission of the ICSR is to build responsible leaders as well as promote social justice through serving the community and researching, according to ICSR’s homepage.

“The aim for ICSR is to be inclusive and make people feel a part of something,” said Tiara Na’puti, assistant professor in the department of diversity and community studies.

In December of last year, the ICSR department designated two private rooms for students for prayer and meditation. The designation was set in order after a few students inquired about a space in which to pray.

“Students would occasionally come to our wing in Tate Page — usually Muslim students — asking to pray, and it was never a problem for us,” Na’puti said.

According to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center, more than half of Americans, 55 percent, said they pray everyday while 23 percent said they prayed weekly or monthly.

The study went on to find that even among those who are not affiliated with any religion, 21 percent said they pray daily.

Na’puti said although many of the students who have used the extra spaces for prayer were of the Islamic faith, the private rooms are open to any person of faith.

Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion after Christianity but is the world’s fastest-growing major religion, according to the 2013 Pew Research Center study.

Andrew Salman, program support specialist for ICSR, believes the spaces can also be used for students with other needs, such as autism.

“People who have heightened sensitivity can use it as a calm-down room or a quiet space for whatever they need to do,” Salman said.

There weren’t any roadblocks that kept ICSR for establishing these prayer and meditation rooms. Since the rooms were faculty offices, ICSR could do with them as they pleased, Salman said.

The establishment of these prayer rooms will achieve the inclusiveness Na’puti wants.

“I believe that these rooms will make students feel like a part of this community,” Na’puti said.

One student who has recently found out about the rooms believes that this will help both students and the university.

“It’s great to hear that leaders are taking the step to make accommodations for those who want to practice their faith in peace,” Hendersonville, Tennessee, freshman Ar’Meishia Burrow said.

Burrow thinks these praying rooms send a message of support to students and others on campus.

“It just lets us know that the university cares about our values,” Burrow said.

The two rooms can be found in Tate Page in room 108. The rooms are open everyday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.