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Ribbon Cutting Sept. 3 for UVU Reflection Center Designed for Meditation, Prayer and Reflection

27 August 2014 No Comment

August 29, 2014

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Melinda Colton | 801-863-6807
Written by: Kellene Ricks Adams | 801-863-8504

A daylong celebration of Utah Valley University’s new Reflection Center on Sept. 3 will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony; a Presidential Lecture, a student activity promoting inter-religious understanding, and a screening an independent film.

The day’s events focus on the completion of the University’s new Reflection Center, a space created for the UVU community to gather for meditation, prayer and reflection. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies begin at noon at the center located on the first floor of the Student Life & Wellness Center.

“We have a large and increasingly diverse student body from all 50 states and nearly 70 countries,” said Brian D. Birch, director of the Religious Studies Program. “We wanted a space for our students to develop their whole selves, where they can develop their social, intellectual, and spiritual capacities as they define them.”

In addition to the actual ribbon cutting, several other activities have been planned to celebrate the religious diversity found at UVU. Eboo Patel, an expert on religious diversity and founder of Interfaith Youth Core, a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting interfaith cooperation, will present the fall Presidential Lecture titled “Changing the World through Interfaith Cooperation,” at 1 p.m. in the Grande Ballroom of the Sorensen Student Center.

The student activity, will allow participants to gather in small groups to learn about different faith perspectives in rapid-fire fashion. The activity will be from 3-5 p.m. in the Grande Ballroom.

The day will end with a 6:30 p.m. screening in the Reflection Center of “Us and Them: Religious Rivalry in America,” a film that tells the story Bryan Hall, a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who travels to the Bible Belt and is forced to ask himself whether he must really love his enemies in order to be a true disciple of Christ.

The idea for the Reflection Center has been almost 15 years in the making, said Birch. “Most campuses have a designated space for prayer, but we wanted a facility that would accommodate not only religious expression, but also interfaith interaction, dialogue, and academic pursuits,” Birch explained. “When President Holland arrived, one of the first things he talked about was building an inclusive space. Space in the library and other areas were considered, but when the Student Life & Wellness Center was approved, we worked with the president to carve out this beautiful new facility.”

With a student population estimated to be at least 85 percent LDS, UVU presents a unique opportunity — and challenge — for inclusive education. “Because inclusion is one of our core values, we want to offer students opportunities to reach out beyond their own perspectives and learn from others,” Birch continued. “We believe that dealing with cultural diversity is an imperative in higher education, and religion is one of the most potent cultural forces. The Reflection Center is certainly symbolic of the University’s commitment to encouraging dialogue and interaction between students of different faiths and creating bridges of understanding.”

The new Reflection Center includes a meditation room designated for silent prayer, meditation and reflection; a prayer room set aside for individualized verbal prayer and other appropriate forms of religious expression; and a convening room designed to host lectures, conferences and student meetings to promote academic and cross-cultural dialogue.

All ribbon-cutting events are free and open to the public. For more information about UVU”s Reflection Center, please visit uvu.edu/religiousstudies/interreligious/reflectioncenter.html, or contact Susanna Garcia at 801-863-5455, or susanna.garcia@uvu.edu.

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