SGA ponders push for meditation room

Muslim Student Association sponsoring request

By Gina N. Fico
Features Editor

Members of County College of Morris’ Muslim Student Association have continued to campaign for the establishment of an interfaith meditation room, a proposal first presented from the club to the Student Government Association in the fall 2017 semester.

MSA members have been talking with Don Phelps, associate director of campus life and Student Government Association adviser, according to MSA faculty adviser and mathematics professor Gitanjali Rizk, who said having the Student Associations on board with the idea has been a challenge.

Matthew J. Bristol, former SGA vice president who served in fall 2017, said that some MSA members had initially suggested a “prayer room,” but SGA members had proposed that the campaign be changed to a meditation room. Phelps said the campaign is currently listed under both names and a final name is yet to be determined.

“I think that a prayer room so long as it is for everyone is perfectly fine,” Bristol said. “I want a prayer room that is also a meditation room, some place for people to go that is for everyone. They do not have the right to disrupt others’ prayer or meditation, and they should not be in that room because that is to be a place for peace, quiet, and for people to relax, pray, or meditate.”

However, Rizk said that while talks for a “prayer room” began last semester, the room will be a “meditation room” that will be open to all faiths and help with students’ stress.
“I think a room like this will provide students a place where they can go and pray, meditate, reflect on things around them, and as such, provide an avenue to relieve stress,” Rizk said. “This should further help them concentrate more on their education.”

The president of MSA, Yassar Kahn said that the opportunity for people to meditate is not just limited to students.

“It’s a really good addition to the campus for not only students but non-students,” Kahn said.

Vice president Fatema Ahmadi said the meditation room will help eliminate confusion. She said they pray in in the club rooms, but some people feel confused when they see others praying and she wants everyone to feel included.

“I want everyone to be united and come together as one,” Ahmadi said.

Rizk said they hope to have something decided about the mediation room this semester.

The idea of a meditation room is favorable to Beth Ochs, a liberal arts major at CCM, who meditates on a weekly basis. Ochs said that a mediation room will also help students succeed academically.

“I actually mediate about 20 minutes a day myself, so if I had a place to do here would be more than happy,” Ochs said.

She said the mediation keeps her more focused on what is important and helps her mind not race over unnecessary thoughts.

Phelps said a mediation room will also have similar benefits.

“I think it will give a great space for students to go to and reflect and recharge either mentally or spiritually,” Phelps said.

Phelps said a challenge is how often CCM is under construction, and a mediation room in Demare Hall has been suggested, but the plan hasn’t gone any further.
Shane Spritzer, a criminal justice major said a mediation room would benefit the CCM community because it’s a unique idea for people to try something new while also being  something for students who already mediate.

“It’s a good opportunity for students to try something they haven’t tried before,” Spritzer said.