New Prayer Room for Student Center in progress

Keri Richmond

The Center for Student Involvement (CSI) is discussing transforming the Kent State prayer room into a larger, more accessible area for students. 

The prayer room at Kent State is tucked away in the “lost leaders” lounge in the Student Center – a small, windowless, 4×4 room, consisting of two prayer mats on the floor and a shelf with a Bible and Qu’ran.

Three-and-a-half years ago, the student organization office space was converted into the current room where students of all religious backgrounds are welcome to come pray.

A growing international population at Kent State sparked the conversation about how the current prayer room was not meeting the needs of religious students earlier this fall.

“As our population who need and seek that service has grown, the university – in conjunction with the University Interfaith Committee – came forward with the suggestion and plan to develop the (new) prayer room,”  said Timeka Rashid, associate dean of students in the Center for Student Involvement.

Kelvin Berry, director of Economic Development and Community Relations, said that the top countries represented at Kent State are China and Saudi Arabia, with Saudi Arabia being a predominantly Muslim nation. 

“(Muslims) pray five times a day,” Berry said.

“As we looked at the current space in the Student Center, it didn’t seem that it was adequate in size and access. So what we advocated for was a larger space,” Berry said.

Plans and designs are currently in progress to build a brand new prayer and meditation room that will replace the Signum Design office on the second floor of the Student Center.

Charmaine Iwanski, the project manager in the university architect’s office, said they are still in the design and engineering process, but have been in discussion with the Office of Global Education for their input on new features.

Students can expect to see a much larger prayer room come next spring, will include new features such as a foot washing station and meditation wall.

Keri Richmond is an activities reporter. Contact her at [email protected]