November 22, 2022

Dean of Students Office funds renovated Reflection Room, a one-of-a-kind space

One side, the female side for Muslim students, of the renovated Reflection Room in the Wayne State Student Center.
One half of the renovated Reflection Room in the Wayne State Student Center.
Photo Courtesy of Christian Hanks.

On the third floor of Wayne State’s Student Center is a unique space dedicated to students for personal and group reflection. The non-denominational Reflection Room was formerly one small room. Now, after expansion and renovation, the space is larger than a conference room and is available for students to use as they participate in any form of meditation and reflection.

The other side, the male side for Muslim students, of the renovated Reflection Room in Wayne State's Student Center.
The other side of the renovated Reflection Room.
Photo Courtesy of Christian Hanks.

Funded entirely by the Dean of Students Office, the expansion of this area is part of a larger university movement to have reflection rooms in different campus buildings. As the Student Center is a central resource for Warriors, the Reflection Room was designed to be as accommodating and inviting as possible.

“Taking away a meeting room shows our commitment to our students and their success, in all areas of their lives,” said Katie Beaulieu, Ed.D., director of the Student Center and Office of Campus Reservations for the Dean of Students Office.

Community, belonging and connectedness are recurring themes of importance for Beaulieu and the Dean of Students Office — and thanks to this one-of-a-kind room, Wayne State’s students are feeling just that.

“Expanding the Reflection Room has [provided] our student community space to create bonds that enhance friendships and encourage spiritual growth. This expansion has brought our community closer together and has strengthened the wholesome and familial feeling of kinship we have with one another on campus,” said Ramsha Rizvi, a member of Wayne State’s Muslim Students’ Association.

For more than seven years, Wayne State University has prioritized reflection spaces. The one located in the Student Center, which underwent plans for renovation beginning in winter 2021, has been remodeled to meet the needs of even more students.

Two wooden double doors reveal one of the entrances to the renovated Student Center Reflection Room at Wayne State. A pair of brown boots sit in front of the door. To the left of the door sits a shoe rack with two pairs of shoes on it.
One of the entrances into the renovated Student Center Reflection Room.
Photo Courtesy of Christian Hanks.

“Identity-based spaces are very important for student belonging,” said Beaulieu. “We want our students to feel connected to campus, and that includes when it comes to their mindfulness and spirituality.”

This renovated facility is one of nine reflection spaces on campus, including a brand-new one located in the State Hall, which will be completely reburbished in the fall of 2023.

“We take pride in our Reflection Rooms, as they’ve served as a model for other universities across the country,” said Beaulieu. “With the diversity of our campus, it is very important to have these spaces available for our students, and to help guide other institutions of higher learning on how to create reflection rooms like ours.”

When it came time to update the Student Center Reflection Room, students were involved from the start. From sharing their thoughts in a focus group to picking out new carpet, representatives from the Student Senate, student organizations and student staff from the Student Center played integral roles in making this space one where they not only felt comfortable, but like they belonged.

Three Wayne State students in the old Reflection Room, looking at samples of new carpet options, smiling and kneeling on the floor.
Students in the old Reflection Room, looking at carpet
samples for the new space. Photo courtesy of Katie Beaulieu.

“It has been a wonderful experience being involved in creating a space like this on campus,” said Rizvi.

Students of all faiths are welcome to use any of the Reflection Rooms on campus — to meditate, pray, manifest, reflect — based on their needs. 

“There’s overwhelming feedback of support from students,” said Beaulieu. “It’s rare to have a center like this on university grounds, let alone of this size and to such specifications — washing room, separate male and female entrances, ablution rooms — accommodating to multiple faiths.

“And to have the students involved in the redesign process was really special,” Beaulieu continued. “To have that level of involvement and to prioritize spaces like this reiterates not only the feeling of belonging and community, but support — in all areas of our students lives.”

The renovated Reflection Room, located on the third floor of the Student Center, is open seven days a week from 7 to 1 a.m. Reservations are not required, and it’s open to all students.

By Katheryn Kutil

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