“Interfaith Space” in the $44 million William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center at University of Nevada-Reno (UNR), currently under construction, would open in January 2016; UNR President Dr. Marc A. Johnson told religious statesman Rajan Zed today.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, and who met Johnson in his office, has commended UNR for accepting the longstanding need of students of interfaith space for reflection, meditation, etc., and thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. It is a step in the right direction, Zed adds.
Johnson told Zed that this Space would be open to all campus student groups belonging to various religions/denominations and non-believers for reflection and meditation. This room would include various cabinets where each group could keep their required icons and articles locked to be brought out when needed.
President Johnson also informed Zed that initially the Interfaith Space would be open from eight am to nine pm daily, with the possibility of opening it for 24-hours seeing the need and feasibility. It would be a quiet place for all students to use free-of-charge, he added
Zed stresses that with the presence of Interfaith Space, UNR students will have a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success after they graduate from here. Interfaith Space will be another feather in UNR’s cap in making it a world class educational institution, Zed points out.
Johnson further told Zed that 70,600 square feet Student Achievement Center, besides Interfaith Space, would also include Writing Center, Math Center, Tutoring Center, Career Studio, Advising Center, Student Veterans Center, Disability Resource Center, Counseling Services, etc.
This building “will help our students to become great scholars” … will also offer support areas “for students to continue learning outside of the standard classroom environment”, a UNR brochure indicates.
Many universities in USA and Canada already have prayer/meditation room for quiet reflection and spiritual exercise.
UNR, founded in 1874 and which has about 20,000 students, is known for helping to create the world’s most accurate atomic clock, earthquake expertise, highly ranked MBA program, several Pulitzer Prize winners and for “study of the behavior of matter at extremely high temperatures and densities”. About half-a-dozen Hollywood films were shot here and it is home to one of the largest earthquake-simulation labs.