The new Indiana Memorial Union (IMU) Interfaith Prayer and Reflection Space is located on the second floor of the IMU in the K.P. Williams room, and it is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. It was established this fall as a safe, quiet, and inclusive space for members of the Indiana University (IU) Bloomington community to address their individual and spiritual needs in a convenient location, central to campus.
Previously, there was a lack of a dedicated space for prayer and reflection in a convenient location on campus. Organizations like the Muslim Student Association (MSA) had been asking for accessible prayer space on campus as many Muslims pray five times a day and do not have time to return to their residence halls or homes to pray inbetween classes.
Members of the 2020-2021 IU Student Government (IUSG) raised the issue of a lack of prayer and reflection space on campus to university administrators and external stakeholders who also recognized the need for a space like this on campus.
After researching how other Big Ten universities addressed the issue and tying the research back to IU’s bigger picture of diversity, equity, and inclusion, members of IUSG were able to collaborate with key personnel from the Division of Student Affairs, Indiana Memorial Union, Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities, and Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs to bring the space to life.
It was decided that the Interfaith Prayer and Reflection Space would be established at the IMU, as it is prime real estate on campus and the center of student life at IU. The space represents a step towards prioritizing religious diversity and mental health on campus.
“Having a space such as the Interfaith Prayer and Reflection room shows a commitment from IMU Executive Director Hank Walter, Dean Dave O’Guinn, and Provost Lauren Robel to creating a welcoming environment for students of all religious backgrounds,” said Ruhan Syed, 2020-2021 IUSG Vice President.