By Daniel DeMarco |Staff Writer|
The Student Union has just opened a new nondenominational religious/faith center where religious based groups may go to host meetings or to simply hang out.
The Interfaith Center is on the second floor between the administrative office and The Blue Coyote Pub And Eatery.
According to Mark Day, executive director of the Student Union Administrative Office, it is only a soft opening.
The grand opening is going to be in January 2014.
It will be treated like any other center in the Student Union, except that there will not be a paid staff. It will be volunteer based.
The administrative office has just begun getting the word out to students about the new center.
The center itself is not completely done yet as they are still in the process of getting new things for the center such as more furniture.
It is not meant to be a place of worship like a church or a mosque, though students are free to use it as such.
Day made it clear that the center was created for students to use however they wish.
Day says the center is not exclusive to clubs but that it is also for individuals who are religious and would like a place to hang out and be around those who also have religious beliefs.
Even those who may not believe in an organized religion but are spiritual in some way are welcome.
The center is not exclusive for any one faith. All faiths are equally accepted and encouraged to take advantage of the new center.
According to Day, they did not have a place like this set up for a long time because there was always that border of church and state that they did not want to cross and be accused of using public funds to support a religion or religious purposes.
Day wants to make it clear that this space is not supporting religion itself, it is supporting the religious based clubs on campus and giving them a space they can use just like any other campus club.
The space is of modest size, consisting of a main room with two couches and two desks with a hand full of chairs, two smaller side rooms and a closet with about a dozen shelves.
Noah Ghossein was laying on one of the couches chatting with a few friends, and he said that he plans on using the center to relax between his classes.
Aya Alwahib knows an officer in the Muslim Student Association who had told her about the center after telling her that the meditation room was going to be moved to the first floor of the Student Union.
She feels that it is a good spot for now, and that once more people know about it the space will be utilized more and become more crowded.
Alwahib would like to use it as a means to get in touch with faith-based groups because she does not always have enough time to attend the meetings.
Omar Elhanafy, Ahmad Salem, and Arbazz Mohammad were hanging out together in the center and say they enjoy it because they feel it has the potential to become a very spiritual place.
They say it will be a good spot for students to get to know other faiths and be around each other for the common good.
The Student Union administrative office encourages all faith based clubs/groups and religious individuals to come check out the new Interfaith Center.