Reflection room to be included in OC update

Trevor Tyle, Campus Editor

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With all the newly announced locations in the Oakland Center, it’s hard to believe the OC will be seeing yet another new student facility.

This time, it’s to provide students with a reflection room in the lower level, located next to the Bear Cave.

“This is something that has taken on a lot of prominence in other unions and student centers around the country, where you have space where students can come to meditate or pray or just reflect in general,” Chris Reed, director of the OC, said. “It’s non-denominational. It’s not specific to any one religion. It’s just a place where students can get away.”

Reed also said the room will most likely be technology-free to ensure students can easily “step away from the buzz that’s going on on campus and take a few minutes to escape mentally.”

The OC reflection room will be different from the one in Kresge Library. Reed affirmed that, as long as the OC is open, the reflection room will be open. Unlike Kresge’s reflection room, it will not be reservable.

“We want it to be something that there’s no barriers to using it,” he said. “You can come in and use it as you wish, and without feeling like you’re encroaching on anybody else’s space.”

During the Ask Ora event held on Jan. 31, it was confirmed the room was being implemented due to student demand. Chief Diversity Officer Glenn McIntosh and his staff were commended for “listening to the students about their concerns about having a place to worship [and] meditate,” according to David Archbold, director of the International Students and Scholars Office.

“Hopefully that meets the needs of students as we continue to grow as a university,” McIntosh said.

Though construction will not officially begin until approximately May 1, there are already plans for the layout of the room. A footwash station will be available near the room’s entrance, while the room color is expected to be a calm shade of green. Conversations are currently being held about lighting, which Reed said will be “somewhat like a mood light so you can set the lighting to what will help you achieve the best reflection for your personal level.” Additionally, the room will offer minimal seating.

“These rooms are becoming so valuable for students on campuses,” Reed said. “I know that one of the big pushes on campus is student success. We all need the opportunity to kind of escape those pressures and those stressors that bring us down or set us back at times.”

The idea has already sparked student excitement.

“That’s so cool, and definitely something I’m going to use,” Oakland University junior John McQuillen said. “The OC always has so many people in it, so it’ll be nice to have a dedicated space for quiet that people can go to and pray about the stresses of college, work and life.”

However, despite student anticipation, Reed emphasized the room’s purpose will be for personal reflection rather than socializing.

“I think that this is a chance for students to have that opportunity, that it’s a space specifically designed for it where they’re not going to be distracted by technology or by other people socializing or creating distractions just through their general conversations,” he said.

The reflection room is expected to be available for students when the rest of the OC expansion opens in the fall.