A new space in Thompson Library opening Wednesday will give students another place to engage in prayer or meditation on campus in line with the Undergraduate Student Government administration’s original campaign platform.
During the past few years, USG has discussed adding another wellness room similar to the other six already on campus, Julia Dennen, USG vice president and a fourth-year in public management, leadership and policy, said. The new Thompson space, which was previously a study room, will open for use this semester and will be renovated and completed over the summer.
“This is the beginning launch of it, over the summer they are going to take out — they are going to renovate it more so it will be better,” Dennen said. “But they are taking out the TVs and stuff this week, and then over the summer they are going to repaint it and do all of those things.”
White boards will also be removed from the room, soft furniture will be added and an opaque film will be applied in the center of the glass panes of the room, Dennen said.
The creation of the space has been discussed in the past, but it was most important to figure out where on campus the biggest need for the space was, Kate Greer, USG president and fourth-year in European history and German, said.
“This has been years in the making, honestly. It’s been a discussion circulating since before Julia and I got here about the need for more interfaith prayer spaces or spaces that can serve that function on campus,” Greer said.
There are six spaces on campus — including in the 18th Avenue Library, Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State and Ohio Union — but there was a need for one more centrally located, according to the Muslim Students’ Association at Ohio State’s website. After conversations with the MSA, Greer confirmed that need and USG decided Thompson would be the best location.
“We learned that Thompson was the most immediate need, and we worked for about nine months to get this done,” Dennen said.
According to a 2017 Lantern article, USG previously passed a resolution recommending a more strictly defined use of the spaces already on campus.
The Ohio Union space is often used for meetings and is listed as one of the meeting spaces available for reservation. The resolution suggested that the policy should be reconsidered and the space should be used only for prayer and religious purposes.
The wellness room opens Wednesday in Thompson Library Room 057 and will be available for all types of meditation and prayer.