NEWARK, Ohio, March 6, 2017 – Nasra Abdi, 19, of Pickerington struggled during her first semester at The Ohio State University at Newark. She could not find a place to pray on campus. As a practicing Muslim, Abdi needs to pray five times each day. However, she could not find a quiet place to conduct her midday and afternoon prayers.
"I would look for a room or a spare area to pray. During a block of time that I didn't have class, I would go in a hallway where there were not a lot of students around, and I could put my backpack in front of me to pray," said Abdi. "But it wasn't the right environment."
Abdi was thrilled to hear that a meditation room for Ohio State Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) students, faculty and staff opened spring semester. The room is located on the second floor of the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center in room 209. Prayer rugs are available in the room if needed, and there are also chairs to sit and relax.
"I find the room peaceful," said Abdi. "I like the fact that people come in freely from different religious backgrounds, and you can do what you need to get that grace."
The room is also open to those who don't want to pray. People just looking for a spot to collect their thoughts can come in and take advantage of quiet.
"Since our campus is extremely diverse, this is something our executive leaders thought our students could really benefit from," said Ohio State Newark and COTC Multicultural Affairs Director Vorley Taylor. "Our Muslim students can really benefit because it's part of their culture to pray five times a day, but the meditation room is for anybody who wants to come and take a few minutes to relax. It's open to students, faculty and staff to come any time of the day."
"Even though I have classes on the other side of campus, I love the fact that there is a meditation room in the Warner Center, and I can come and use it," said Abdi. "It shows that the campus really cares."
Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio. At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that's challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State's more than 200 majors.