UB reflection room now open
‘Reflection room?’ the person behind the service desk looks uncertain. That’s fair; the new space in UB 1.01 has only been open since last Friday.
Peering in, it looks dark and desolate. But when you switch on the lights there are comfortable pillows and several sofas to welcome you.
A sign on the table explains what the room is for. You can bring your own prayer rugs, sacred texts, whatever – but leave the room the way you found it when you’re done.
No prayer rugs
The room in the UB is meant to be as neutral and inclusive as possible; it is not specifically a ‘religious’ room, unlike the prayer room in the Linnaeusborg which is decorated with prayer rugs and Qurans.
Dutch law pre-master student Saloua is happy with the room. She uses it to pray. ‘I often spend entire days in the Harmonie building to study. I live in Emmen, so it’s impossible for me to go home in between classes to pray.’
She plans to keep using the room after the exam period. ‘By praying at the right time, I can focus on my studies for the rest of the day.’
She understands why the décor in the room is neutral. ‘It’s a room for everyone, not just one specific religious group, so that’s fine. It’s good for all students to have a space where they can withdraw and be silent when they’re feeling stressed. I do think it’s a shame you can’t leave anything in the room, like a prayer rug that other people can then use as well.’
Henrieke Polinder, who represents Lijst Calimero in the university council, is happy the room has finally opened. She was involved in the initiative by various student parties for the room. ‘I’m certainly satisfied. It’s great that we got together to make this happen. Now we just have to wait and see what the people who use the room think, and then we can evaluate whether it serves its purpose in July.’
Because the RUG is interested in how the room is used, people can sign in on a sheet of paper attached to the door. They can also indicate how long they’re using the room, and what for.
The reflection room will be open for at least a year, after which the RUG will decide whether to keep it definitively. So if you’re completely stressed out during your next exam period, you now have a quiet space to escape to.
If you have any remarks or suggestions about the reflection room, you can tell the RUG by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org