Print Edition: April 1, 2015
Tucked away in a small corridor in C building is a multi-faith prayer room — a place on campus for students of all beliefs to gather and practice their faith.
But with the new Student Union Building (SUB) opening up this summer, the prayer room will be no more — at least not in its current location. During the upcoming summer months, the hallway that currently hosts the prayer room, as well as CIVL Radio, The Cascade, and Student Union Society (SUS) offices is being renovated to make room for a new visual arts studio, pilot classroom, and other various offices.
Executive director Craig Toews says UFV Campus Planning is actively searching for a new location for the prayer room.
“Regardless of where they land, that space will be under construction over the summer months, so we have to find a temporary office or room for multi-faith,” he says.
SUS president Ryan Petersen explains that because the prayer room is currently in UFV space, SUS didn’t plan for it to be in their portion of the SUB.
“It’s never been part of our space allocation,” he says.
Although there is extra space in the SUB, Petersen doesn’t see it being suitable for the prayer room. “There [are] a few smaller rooms, but they’re not really good for the prayer room,” he says. “The prayer room is supposed to be off to the side, a nice quiet space where people can reflect and be among their thoughts […] It wouldn’t be good to have people meditating or praying in that space because there would be people walking past in the hallways.”
Although nothing has been decided yet, there are several locations on campus that are being considered to house the prayer room, including the UFV-owned portion of the SUB. Toews also mentions that the wing of C building where the prayer room is currently could be an option after its completed renovation. “Those are the two places where [the washrooms] have the foot wash stations, so that would be ideal,” he says.
The multi-faith prayer room will be given a temporary location while Campus Planning finds it a new home. Toews says that the needs of students of all faiths are a priority. “The university is incredibly committed to supporting all faiths and all beliefs in some kind of space where they can book it for meetings or prayer, whatever their needs are,” he says.