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Prayer space for all faiths
Quinnipiac prides itself on being a diverse community. Although we’re not really diverse, we are in many ways. We represent almost every state in the U.S., and more than 30 different countries. We differ in races, in beliefs and in cultures. We particularly differ in religions.
Although Quinnipiac may not be as diverse in race as many other schools, our diversity in mentality cannot be denied. Quinnipiac boasts many different student-run organizations promoting our diversity. Groups like the Latino Cultural Society, the International Students Association, Asian Students Alliance, GLASS and the Black Student Union are just some of the many Cultural and Identity groups that we have on campus. For many, it’s a place of comfort they can go to where they fit in and feel accepted. It’s just one way Quinnipiac feels like home to so many different people.
Although Quinnipiac is a non-denominational university and is not affiliated with one specific religion, students practice their religions as they would at any other institution. We hold weekly mass for the Catholics, we have jumma prayer on Fridays for practicing Muslims and we celebrate almost every religious holiday for all religions on campus.
One thing that’s missing, though, is a chapel. Though Quinnipiac is non-denominational, we still make accommodations and arrangements for the many religions practiced here. The religious life suite on the second floor of the Carl Hansen Student Center is shared between the many religions and used as a prayer space for Catholics, Christians, Muslims and Hindus alike. Our Campus Ministry, which includes all religions on campus, is underpopulated and often looked over.
Marist College in New York is a school very similar to Quinnipiac. Many of our students considered Marist, and vice versa, and yet Marist is so different to us. With a similar campus size and student population, Marist’s tuition and room and board combined is just under $45,000 a year, almost $10,000 less than our own fees. Yet, Marist’s campus in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is lucky enough to have a chapel open until after 9 p.m. every day.
For Quinnipiac Catholic students, we attend mass once a week in Buckman Theatre, and occasionally smaller ceremonies held in the Faculty Dining Lounge. There are no masses held daily, or even consecutively throughout the week, and if we want a religious space to pray in, we share the space with several other religions and have to respect their allotted prayer times as well.
For the other religions on campus, they face the same issues. There’s no reserved space for each particular religion, and although a shared ministry space isn’t difficult to deal with, it’s not ideal. The only religion on campus that truly has it’s own space is Judaism with the Peter C. Hereld House for Jewish Life on New Road. Though it was donated by practicing alumni, it would only be fair that Quinnipiac make proper accommodations for the other religions. Sure, we can all go off campus to the several places of worship in the surrounding area, but why inconvenience ourselves? What about freshmen or those who don’t have access to a car? Are they limited to that one glass room?
Although building a chapel or mosque on campus could be too difficult and cause ethical issues in satisfying every religion, Quinnipiac should look into building a Campus Ministry building rather than just a suite.
With sanctioned rooms for every religion with open sacraments and the availability of our chaplains, a building reserved for our Campus Ministry would only be appropriate. There are more than 6,000 students at Quinnipiac, chances are many of them are practicing some religion, so for the price we’re paying here, I’d like the opportunity to openly pray and practice my faith without leaving campus.