Many students at UVU come from out of state to join the UVU team and learn about new cultures even to be thrown into a new environment, as well as become a part of the largest university in Utah and enjoy it’s diverse cultures. One experience students can have to help them delve into a culture different from their own is the Reflection Center located on campus.
Reflection Center coordinator Ellie Thompson said, “We have many different faiths here on campus, whether you believe in heaven or hell, whether you believe in a God or no God, we have a definite variety of religions here at UVU.”
The Reflection center came to be through the interreligious engagement initiative with help and support from Brian Birch, the director of the Center for the Study of Ethics.
“The Reflection Center is a concrete manifestation of UVU’s commitment to inclusion and interreligious dialogue. The center was born in the desire to create a safe space for students from a variety of religious and ethical perspectives,” says Birch, “It supports student religious clubs and councils, provides programs for students to engage in dialogue, and allows for individual religious expression including mediation and prayer.”
The space was created for students to have an opportunity to have a private space to pray, meditate and learn about other religions. The hope is to have students come to the space to meet and discuss spirituality and religion with peers who might not share the same beliefs.
A common myth on campus is that the center came to be after the sighting of a student praying in a bathroom stall on campus. This is not true, as the center was spearheaded by Birch to ensure UVU fosters an inclusive religious environment.
While the space is intended for students to discuss or to practice their religious beliefs, it is also a place where students can simply talk to each other or do homework.
“I want the space to be where students come for a warm beverage whether it be coffee, hot chocolate, tea or whatever they like,” said Thompson.
The Center holds a program called Cocoa, Coffee, Convo, which is an opportunity for all students to enjoy a hot beverage and conversation.
Thompson also said that this event is intended to bring students together with differing beliefs so that they might find something in common with each other.
The Center is located in the Student Life building in room 112 next to the bowling alley. It is open to all students at any time during the regular business hours of the building