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Campus News and Updates
Dedicated Multifaith spaces now accessible at SFU's Surrey campus
Students of different religious backgrounds will now have dedicated spaces to meet and pray at SFU’s Surrey campus.
After months of consultation, collaboration and construction, two Multifaith Centres (MFC) are available for students to use.
The project, funded through the Student Experience Initiative (SEI), garnered wide support from various departments including the Office of the Vice-President, Academic and the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Students and International.
“The completion of these dedicated spaces at the Surrey campus re-affirms our commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as our commitment to all equity-deserving groups in our community,” says Rummana Khan Hemani, SFU’s vice-provost and associate vice-president, students and international.
Steve Dooley, executive director of the Surrey campus, echoes those sentiments: “It’s our number one priority to ensure that all students feel welcome and safe on our campus, and we support all forms of religious expression,” says Dooley. “I’m thankful to the Student Experience Initiative project as well as countless other stakeholders for their tireless efforts in bringing this project to fruition at our campus.”
These Multifaith spaces meet the need of having appropriate, permanent spaces for various groups to pray, celebrate mass, study sacred texts and connect to their faith and community. Prior to the construction of these spaces, students used a temporary prayer space on the fifth floor of SFU at Central City (SRYC) or other public spaces on campus.
Now, students have access to dedicated Multifaith spaces at both of the Surrey campus buildings. At SRYC, two conjoining rooms make up multipurpose prayer and worship space, as well as office space for different MFC staff, chaplains or groups. Over at SFU on University Drive (SRYE), new spaces include a multipurpose studio, a meeting space and upgraded showers with wheelchair accessible ablution stations in the SRYE building. Across both campus buildings, doors and frosted windows were also added to ensure safety and privacy for students.
The MFC consulted with a number of different religious and student groups, including the Muslim Students Association. Soraya Elchehimi, the president of the Muslim Students Association, says the completion of this project is a critical step in ensuring that the Muslim community can participate fully in university life without compromising their faith and religious practices.
“We are one of the largest faith-based groups on campus, serving thousands of students and advocating to ensure that students of all faiths are provided with the necessary spaces and services they need to practice their religion,” says Elchehimi. “Our multifaith and ablution spaces facilitate safety and comfort for our Muslim community, who can now freely and regularly engage in worship on campus.”
With these permanent centres now open, there is potential for various groups affiliated with the MFC to use these spaces and make programming more available at the Surrey campus, serving students of all faiths and beliefs.
The SEI team acknowledges the departments that collaborated to make this project possible, including the Office of the Vice-President, Academic, the Office of the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Students and International, Director of Student Services at Surrey, the Multifaith Centre, and Facilities Services at SFU Surrey.