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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Think. Pray. Meditate.

Photo by Cristian Aguirre

The new prayer and meditation room was created in order to provide a space for religious practice of all faiths to students.

After students were seen praying under the stairs of Sterling C. Evans Library, Dean of University Libraries David Carlson, and his staff decided to make a special room for religious expression in the library a possibility.
Located on the fifth floor of the library is the building’s newest addition, an all faiths meditation and prayer room.
The room was officially opened to students in May offering a quiet and convenient area of meditation to all students on campus. With large windows and open space, the room was designed to signify peace, relaxation and comfort to all of its visitors.
Construction on the prayer and meditation room began approximately one year ago. Carlson said the overall goal was to create a private area for students to pray or meditate without interruption.
“What really kind of drove it is that I got reports that students were creating their own space in the library in not very attractive situations,” Carlson said. “So that was the main motivator, we saw a need out there.”
The room also offers a variety of religious texts such as the Jewish Tanakh, the Quran of
Islam, the King James Bible and more. There are also prayer rugs, chairs along the walls and a pole, with the word “peace” written in multiple languages located in the room’s corner.
Assistant Dean of Evans Library Diversity Initiatives, Jan Pfannstiel, also played a large role in the construction of the prayer and meditation room and emphasizing that the room is open to all students regardless of their faith.
“We didn’t want it to represent any specific religion and it’s not meant for group study or bible studies or meditation groups,” Pfannstiel said. “It’s just meant for people to have a nice quiet place, with a nice view.”
For students, the room serves as a location where they can practice their religious beliefs as they see fit. The room is open during all Evans Library hours, so patrons can come an go as they please. The room is all inclusive, a fact that chemical engineering junior Sibba Al-Kahtani said she enjoys.
“I was really happy because in my mind the prayer room wasn’t just for Muslims,” Al-Kahtani said. “It was also for Christians and Jews and Buddhists even agnostic people who may not have a god but now have a meditation room.”
Communication sophomore Carlee Hebert, also finds the room to be conveniently located since many students spend hours in Evans Library studying, reading and doing homework.
“A lot of people will spend tons of time in [Evans Library] studying and reading,” Hebert said. “And especially during finals week it’ll be good to have a place to get away and then regroup and get back to work.”
Rules and regulations for conduct within the prayer and meditation room can be found printed on the room’s door and walls. If a student would like to request a sacred text or reading be added to the room’s bookshelf, an email address is also provided on that list.
Pfannstiel hopes that this new room provides students easy access to the spiritual or personal peace they are seeking during their academic endeavors.
“We have thousands of students in the library every day,” Pfannstiel said. “So this is an opportunity to give them a space that’s quiet and then continue with their other studies while they’re in the library.” 
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