RSU adds multifaith space

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By Diana Hall

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) has reached a tentative agreement with Ryerson University to construct a second multifaith room on campus.

According to RSU President Rodney Diverlus, the agreement will be signed by the end of the Fall 2012 semester.

The additional space will give students and student groups the opportunity to attend Ryerson’s multifaith room on a drop-in basis, while the new location would be primarily used to book larger groups.

The move to create another multifaith room is a response to what Diverlus called “the pressures of space” on campus.

“This is something that came out of a long history of struggle with the university to find a multifaith space at a time in which spaces were popping up on campuses, because there’s a philosophy and a belief that at the end of the day, a school and a university setting shouldn’t just be a place for academics,” Diverlus said.

As more students join faithbased groups at Ryerson, the need for a community space to practice has outgrown the single room’s capacity.

“It just happens to be the nature of how faith-based groups are active,” Diverlus said. “They meet regularly and [because of] the nature of the events that they do, they need to meet, they need to be together. It’s not just something that you can do online.”

Diverlus noted that the RSU researched how other post-secondary institutions – including Seneca, Dalhousie and the University of Toronto – have managed the demand for space among the various faithbased student groups.

The University of Toronto, for example, hosts several multifaith spaces scattered throughout campus.

Diverlus points to the school’s stand-alone multifaith centre as an appealing long-term endeavour.

The building consists of five rooms that are available for various types of spiritual practices.

A motion to gain RSU support for a campaign on more student space passed unanimously at the RSU’s semi-annual general meeting last November.

It is unknown when the second multifaith space will be ready for use.

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