New Center for Faith and Service Comes to Campus
“This way for hugs, cookies and good vibes,” the sign in front of the new Center for Faith and Service says.
The house, located at 329 W. 7th Street, is a new collaboration on campus, bringing together the Office of Spiritual Life, Office of Community Engagement and the Diversity Center, which were all previously located in separate office spaces.
“Over the last few years, my office in HAC and the community engagement and service learning offices were really popular spaces for students to be,” Reverend Jamie Haskins said. “The offices began to fill up with students, so we thought ‘what would it look like if we could create a larger space where students could gather, that professors could use, and that could be a home away from home?’”
Although the move made some of the people working in those offices nervous about changes in their work dynamic or work environment, they all have positive things to say about the experience so far.
Diversity Center fellow Lejla Dervisevic said: “I feared that my transition would be hard and that I would struggle to adjust to the new environment and new responsibilities. However, with my loving team, this transition felt natural and was everything but hard.”
The house is currently creating an Interfaith Prayer Space where people from all beliefs and religions will be welcome to pray, meditate or reflect.
“Since our college chapel is also a museum and not always open, I think this space is meeting a great need we have on our campus to fully embrace the diversity of our students from all faith backgrounds,” Chaplain Resident Maeba Jonas said.
The Center has free snacks, coffee and tea available for everyone. The Blue Jay Food Pantry is also located in the house.
Students can often be found hanging out in the living room of the house doing homework and talking. There is also a room upstairs that can be reserved for meetings or used as a quiet study space.
“It is a rare encounter that you’d go somewhere where you are a stranger, yet from the first moment you step in, you feel at home,” Khaled Khalili, ’19, said about the Center for Faith and Service. “From the smiling faces, non-stopping hugs, good food or the creativity in each corner, it is just the place to be at after a long day.”
“The Center for Faith and Service represents a home for me,” Dervisevic said. “It is a place where people always laugh, where we are all always greeted with smiles and warm welcomes. It is a place of so much positive energy.”
The Center is open from 9 a.m. to midnight on Mondays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, and noon to midnight on Sundays.