New Multifaith Meditation Room to be Dedicated
Aug. 21, 2015
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— A new Multifaith Meditation Room at Illinois Wesleyan will be dedicated
Aug. 27 at 7 p.m., and the campus community is invited to attend the dedication in
the Joslin Atrium, Memorial Center.
The new space is a result of two years of conversations across campus about sacred
space facilitated by Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger, University Chaplain, and Multifaith
Ambassador Lisa Mishra ’15.
As a 2014 Mellon Scholar, Mishra conducted a historical survey of sacred space on campus, a review of sacred
space and interfaith prayer spaces at other colleges and universities, and an overview
of prayer practices of the world’s major religious traditions.
“Lisa’s work, continued conversations with campus administration and students, and
a major gift from the Merwin Foundation enabled us to move forward with this project,”
said Nelson Winger.
She noted religious diversity on college campuses ideally should include architectural
spaces that accommodate a variety of religious and spiritual practices.
Last year Nelson Winger and the Multifaith Ambassadors worked with Bloomington architect
Russel Francois, Francois Associates Architects, to develop a design, after Vice President
of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Karla Carney-Hall determined the Memorial
Center’s second-floor Meditation Room could be utilized for a multifaith space. The
Meditation Room is original to the design of the building, and has been a special
place of prayer and meditation for many students, Nelson Winger said. In May President
Richard F. Wilson approved the project after Nelson Winger presented a proposal to
the Campus Life Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Renovations to the space were made by Johnston Contractors Inc. and Physical Plant.
Professor and Director of the School of Art Kevin Strandberg designed and created
glass-fused artwork for the space.
The Multifaith Ambassadors will participate in the dedication, which will also feature
original music composed for the occasion by David Allen Flowers ’16.
“The Multifaith Meditation Room reflects a new effort for programming and religious
diversity and inclusion on campus,” said Nelson Winger. Such spaces promote inclusivity,
she said, and bring together students of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds.
The dedication is the first 3D: Diversity, Dignity and Dialogue event of the year. The 3D Series is a campus-wide collaboration on Thursday evenings
to have engaging and thought-provoking dialogue, and is sponsored by the Office of
Diversity and Inclusion. All members of the campus community are invited to attend
the dedication, which will be followed by a reception. Those who plan to attend are
asked to RSVP to Nelson Winger at email@example.com or 556-3179.