Ohio University Interim President David Descutner speaks at the March 2 inauguration of OHIO’s new United Meditation Room, located on the fifth floor of Alden Library.

Ohio University Interim President David Descutner speaks at the March 2 inauguration of OHIO’s new United Meditation Room, located on the fifth floor of Alden Library.

International Student Union President Hashim Pashtun speaks at the inauguration of the United Meditation Room.

International Student Union President Hashim Pashtun speaks at the inauguration of the United Meditation Room.

Ohio University students, faculty and staff who were instrumental in developing the United Meditation Room gather for a ribbon-cutting during the inauguration of the room.

Ohio University students, faculty and staff who were instrumental in developing the United Meditation Room gather for a ribbon-cutting during the inauguration of the room.

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Ohio University celebrates official opening of new United Meditation Room


Ohio University celebrated the inauguration of its new United Meditation Room with a special ceremony on Thursday, March 2.

Located on the fifth floor of Alden Library in room 511A, the new space was created to support the various faiths, beliefs and religious practices of Ohio University students, staff and faculty, as well as community members. The student-led initiative to create the room was designed not only to provide a location on campus for individuals to gather for meditation, reflection and/or prayer, but also to recognize the religious and spiritual needs as well as the diversity of the OHIO community.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be here today,” Interim President David Descutner said during the ceremony. He explained that he took part in discussions about creating a similar room over the years, and he is thrilled to see the idea now become a reality.

“That it is in the Library means so much to me,” Descutner said. The library serves as a focal point and a main gathering place for campus, and it is a perfect location for the room, he said. Former President Roderick J. McDavis was supportive of the idea of the meditation room and actually recommended that the space be set in Alden Library.

University Libraries Dean Scott Seaman donated a conference room to be used for the United Meditation Room, and Alden Library is now maintaining and operating the space. The Division of Student Affairs contributed funding to pay for renovation of the space.

Seaman said during the ceremony that he is proud to have played a role in the creation of this new space, but said it is a reality due to a true partnership of leaders across the University, including University Planner Shawna Bolin, Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones, Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Pina, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Shari Clarke, and Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds.

“It always takes a champion,” Seaman added, and explained that the champion who moved this project forward was International Student Union President Hashim Pashtun.

“It was a long journey,” Pashtun said in his remarks, adding that he is proud the journey was successful. He also thanked several OHIO leaders for their assistance with the creation of the room and stressed that the space is open to students from any faith. No matter your beliefs, meditation “is a process where you reenergize yourself,” and it is good for self-reflection, Pashtun said.

He is proud to see the room open and available to all students and said that he now hopes to hear from students about how they are using and benefiting from the new United Meditation Room.

“This is my biggest achievement as a student leader,” Pashtun said. 

Edmonds thanked Pashtun for seeing this space come to life and for his leadership in this important achievement. She too was pleased to see so many people from across campus and the Athens community celebrating the opening of the United Meditation Room, and she discussed the naming of the room during her remarks.

“The name reflects the vision for a peaceful, safe and secure world and our university campus in which all can find a place for themselves to be themselves – to be united,” Edmonds said.

The United Meditation Room is open during all of the hours that Alden Library’s fifth floor is open, and guidelines for the room are posted just outside the space and on the Alden Library website. Feedback and/or comments about the United Meditation Room may be emailed to library.reference@ohio.edu.

This article was provided by the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies.