Fresno State creates room for students of all religions to pray, meditate

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A single room at Fresno State is providing a safe space for students of all religious backgrounds. Hidden inside the Henry Madden Library is a spot for students of all faiths.

"We had an incident on campus, actually a few incidents, where our students were praying in public and people were asking them what they were doing and they felt harassed," said Dr. Francine Oputa Director of the Cross-Cultural and Gender Center at Fresno State.

To address the need, Fresno State created the university's Interfaith Prayer and Meditation Room.

"You can pray, you can sit, you can meditate," said Dr. Oputa. "Many of our Muslim students pray five times a day."

It's a spot where regardless of their religion, students can find a quiet place to connect with their faith.

Administrators feel this was an important addition to campus, with Fresno State being such a diverse university, hosting 12 religious student organizations and nearly 40 cultural clubs.

Five years later, it's used daily by the entire Fresno State community and is open 7 days a week.

"Whether you're protestant or Jewish, whether you practice Shamanism, whatever, that belief system is of yours," said Dr. Oputa. "If you want a place to contemplate, to pray, you're welcome to come here."
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