By Dylan Conway-Hartwick
Nestled in the back corner on the second floor of the Student Commons is the Algonquin College Spiritual Centre, which may seem to be a whole new world compared to the loud daily bustle happening just outside its doors.
It is a place where students can go to celebrate their religion, diversity and practise spiritual engagement at any time throughout the school day.
“We offer a variety of spiritual programs, depending on what people believe. Our goal is to make any student feel comfortable to drop in and see what activities are going on,” said Sandra McCormick, manager of the Spiritual Centre.
The Spiritual Centre plays host to a non-discriminatory policy that allows students to practise any religion they may have, including Muslim prayer groups, Catholic Eucharist, Christian prayer groups, Buddhist meditation sessions, psalm readings and bible study.
All students are free to stop by for a visit at the centre, they are more than happy to welcome new faces. McCormick also encourages students to check out the centre’s web page.
“I hope to see new people. If anyone is looking for a place to pray or worship, this is it. We are always very happy with newcomers,” stated Mohamed Tulul, event coordinator for the Algonquin College Muslim Students’ Association (MSA).
After making its move from B-building last year, the all-new Spiritual Centre hosts a large prayer room and attached lounge area for students to connect. The larger prayer space also adds more opportunity for bigger events.
“We have a Friday prayer at around 1:15 p.m., where about 300 people showed up,” stated Abdalrahman Naddaf, president of the Algonquin MSA. “We also have on-campus events joined with other schools (University of Ottawa and Carleton University) that are open for anyone- student or not- of any religion.”
For students like Tulul and Naddaf, the Spiritual Centre is more than just a peaceful getaway or a place to take part in activities, it is a daily necessity.
“As a Muslim I come here to pray about four times a day, so it’s really something that we do require,” stated Naddaf.
“If the Spiritual Centre wasn’t here some students would probably pray in the hallways, but it allows us to all get together and socialize,” he noted. “It creates a community.”