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Art & Architecture Library adds student-designed meditation space

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Category: campus experience Video duration: Art & Architecture Library adds student-designed meditation space
Class of 2022 School of Art + Architecture graduate, Zainab Hashmi, designed and built a meditation space in the Art & Architecture Library in Cowgill Hall.  The space was built with inclusivity in mind, as it provides a place for meditation and prayer for anyone, no matter the religion or worldview.
In Fall of 2021, I kind of started thinking about it in terms of my thesis. I want it to be a space where anyone can meditate. Obviously like I had my own experience as to why I needed a meditation space. But definitely when I was thinking about, I was thinking that like it could be for Christians, Jews, Muslims, like atheists, agnostics like whoever you are. It's just a place where you can find peace and quiet between class. Zainab approached me probably at the beginning of April with this really thoughtful construct and asked me if it was buildable. So my background is in building with students. I had to educate myself as to her culture and sort of how the space meets those needs. And personally, I think that this is a place that I would come and sit. If I needed a quiet minute or a little bit of time to myself, I think it serves that need just as well. I think that this little construct provides a very heroic thing for the university. And I knew that this was something that was totally possible. And I really wanted to help make it happen. When considering projects that we're going to fund through the exhibits program, one thing I do like to keep in mind is how passionate people are about the project they're working on. In this case, Zainab was very passionate about the work she was doing and she was very invested in it. And I think that was definitely one thing that attracted me to this project. And another thing that we'd like to do with exhibits funding is to make sure that things that we fund are going to have a large impact hopefully. And a thing like this, which is in a public space that's for pretty much anyone to use, is hopefully going to have an impact on a lot of people. I think it's incredibly sensitive to some of the issues and the challenges that the university is facing. And I think it addressed them very, very thoughtfully. During the pandemic and like afterwards I feel like, and mental health is a huge issue in terms of how are we addressing that. I don't understand why we don't have a meditation space in every single building in campus, just so it's accessible to students. And I'm hoping to like create that like inclusivity by adding in books like the Torah, the Bible, the Quran and like everything else they could think of like a prayer mat. So slowly integrating those into the space so that like if anyone walks in that space they're like, I'm a Christian and there's the Bible. So I think it can be easy for anyone.