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Updated 10:00 AM February 20, 2006




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University to open two new reflection rooms

Sitting against a wall with her legs extended and feet crossed on the floor of the reflection room in the Michigan League, Christina Marie rests from her busy week. The senior sociology major says she comes to room 347 weekly to take a break from the frantic culture of life as a college student.
Rooms like this one in the Michigan League provide a peaceful respite. (Photo by Scott Galvin, U-M Photo Services)

"I like to sort my thoughts because often I feel congested here on campus with a lot going on with classes and all," she says.

Marie is not alone in her desire for places to get away. Responding to requests made by the Division of Student Affairs, LSA Facilities is preparing to open reflection rooms in the Chemistry building and Haven Hall this month, doubling the number of spaces on campus reserved for reflection, prayer or meditation. Members of the U-M community currently use reflection rooms in the League and room 2404 of the Duderstadt Center.

"Allowing students, faculty and staff to take a moment to reflect, we felt, was a very important thing to have on campus," says Frank Cianciola, senior associate vice president for student affairs. "These reflection rooms really provide space for students and others to take time to reflect on things that are important to them."

The room in the Duderstadt Center—located in the quiet study area of the Art and Architecture and Engineering Library on the second floor—originally was planned to go in Pierpont Commons, but delayed construction caused its relocation until next fall.

The furnishings for both the Chemistry and Haven rooms will be similar to those of the other reflection rooms with a rug, bench, chair and pillow, Cianciola says.

The reflection rooms have garnered a buzz around campus, Pierpont Commons Director Michael Swanigan says. "Students have said it's awesome, it's good news, and its popularity must be spreading around campus."

Senior chemical engineering major Noha Elmouelhi says the reflection rooms serve a great purpose for those who practice their faith.

Elmouelhi, a practicing Muslim, has found it easier to pray her required five times a day since the reflection rooms opened. She frequents the Duderstadt Center three or four times a week, usually between classes when she does not have enough time to go home to pray.

"It's really great to have something conveniently located," she says.

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