A Debate on Om; The Pro Side

Yolanda+Landow+and+Weezy+Gardner+meditate+during+a+Midwest+Moon+Sangha+gathering+at+the+Wehrli+Chapel+on+the+Webster+Groves+campus+in+St.+Louis+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+3%2C+2015.+The+meditation+session+was+followed+by+a+quiet+walking+portion+and+concluded+with+second+portion+of+sitting.+%28Roberto+Rodriguez%2FSt.+Louis+Post-Dispatch%2FTNS%29

TNS

Yolanda Landow and Weezy Gardner meditate during a Midwest Moon Sangha gathering at the Wehrli Chapel on the Webster Groves campus in St. Louis on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. The meditation session was followed by a quiet walking portion and concluded with second portion of sitting. (Roberto Rodriguez/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)

Lora Neshovska, Features Editor

Many schools and college campuses across the country have installed a prayer room in the facility to honor students’ religious identities. This decision, much like any other religious approach, brings controversial questions and concerns.

 

Meditation and prayer rooms offer a quiet, private space to students and staff to de-stress. Whether you are honoring your personal divinity or collecting your thoughts before an important test, a designated space to do so provides security and a sense of religious and spiritual tolerance on college campuses.

In order to minimize the controversy this space might bring, a staff member holding religious neutrality might need to be appointed to supervise the area. Instead of the space being a community-run facility, it could almost be a system put into place to encourage tolerance of different viewpoints and people. At a public college such as Mesa, it would be ideal to add a room like this to bring together the different religions campus wide. Instead of establishing a paramount religion on campus, this would aid in promoting the acceptance of all religions.

 

San Diego Mesa College students hold a variety of religious and spiritual beliefs, which would all be honored and respected in one communal space. Not only does this encourage acceptance and coexistence amongst the different beliefs, it unites like-minded people who believe in a higher power. This way, individuals holding strong religious views will be able to learn how to tolerate and coexist with others with opposing religious views.

 

By providing a room for meditation and prayer, the Mesa campus would be recognizing the numerous religious opinions of its students and attributing them with an appropriate facility. Not only will the room serve as a space to honor one’s personal beliefs, it could be utilized as a community space to share and discuss diverse viewpoints. This will help develop a more religiously well-informed student body, which in turn will help with the tolerance of differing opinions, religious or not.

 

Religion shouldn’t be another degree of separation amongst the college campus population. Instead, seen as an opportunity to learn about and connect to additional ideas and understandings.