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Empowering Students: New Space Offers a Refuge for Growth

MU Students can promote their spiritual and mental wellbeing in this new space.

A new space opened at the start of the semester to provide a physical refuge for students seeking to focus on practices that promote their spiritual and mental wellbeing. The Meditation and Mindfulness room is in room 203 of the Student Memorial Center, just above the Galley.

“After reviewing room usage data within the SMC, we chose to transform an underutilized conference room into an active space that will provide ongoing support to our student body,” says John Hearn, director of operations of the Student Memorial Center at Millersville University.

Previously, students expressed their wish for a dedicated space on campus exclusively reserved for interfaith prayer, meditation, and mindfulness. However, the realization of this dream was hindered by the absence of an ideal location. Fortunately, the Student Memorial Center conducted a comprehensive space study in collaboration with WTW Architects. Thanks to continuous input from students, the SMC master plan has now been updated to incorporate a designated area for meditation and mindfulness.

“Although long-term plans are vital for growth, the Division of Student Affairs desired to provide space that will meet and address the needs of our students today,” says Hearn.

The space is designed to cater to a diverse range of needs, whether students choose to use it for prayer, meditation, or reflection. Its purpose is to support various faiths, promote positive mental health practices, and provide a welcoming environment for exploring personal interests.

The room includes newly painted white walls, three chairs along the perimeter, a tower lamp, four salt lamps, additional prayer rugs, meditation and mindfulness cards and resources, sound machines to block excess noise and window tint to provide privacy.  The focal point of the room includes a hand-crafted wooden map of the world on the central wall to remind people who utilize the space of MU’s EPPIIC value of Inclusion.

Crafted with inclusivity in mind, this space incorporates thoughtful details to embrace Millersville’s diverse student community. Notably, a wall decal has been included to indicate the Qibla, the direction toward the city of Mecca that holds significance for Muslims during prayer. This intentional design feature aims to create a welcoming environment for all students.

“Our hope is that this space will feel open, warm and inclusive of our diverse student body,” says Hearn.

The room is open on a walk-in basis during SMC operational hours. For the spring, that’s Monday – Friday 7 – 12 a.m., Saturdays from 8 – 12 a.m. and Sundays from 9 – 12 a.m. If students prefer, they can utilize the room alone for up to 20 minutes by changing a sign on the door from vacant to occupied.

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