No matter what your religious beliefs, spiritual and emotional health are a huge part of succeeding in college. It used to be that colleges only offered spaces tied to a specific religion, but several colleges have constructed dedicated meditation spaces to keep up with the growing diversity of their student body. These colleges have cultivated not only a space but a lifestyle of growth and enrichment for their students. Here are 50 of the best meditation spaces on college campuses across America.
50. Mount Holyoke College- Japanese Teahouse & Meditation Garden
The Japanese Teahouse & Meditation Garden at Mount Holyoke College was built in 1984 at the top of Eliot House. Paid for through alumni donations, this calming center of natural beauty has been nurturing spirits for over three decades. It goes by the name “Wa-Shin-an”, which translates to “Peace-Mind House”. As the name suggests, the beautiful shrubs and flowers provide an atmosphere that gives its patrons the peace of mind that is lacking in today’s fast-paced society. Students flock here to re-center themselves after a stressful academic week.
49. University of New Orleans- Interfaith Prayer & Meditation Room
The Interfaith Prayer and Meditation Room at the University of New Orleans has recently made history. It is the first Interfaith prayer and meditation room on a campus within the University of Louisiana system. This brand new facility is sure to quickly become the pinnacle of the spiritual community. In its short time of existence, it has become a communal ground of spiritual diversity.
48. State University of New York at Albany- Interfaith Center
The Interfaith Center has been a vital part of the State University of New York at Albany’s spiritual community since 1966. It offers several features for its students, such as the interfaith lending library, an outdoor labyrinth, a meditation and prayer room, and a meditation garden. The combination of these features is what makes this interfaith center one of the most prominent campus spiritual centers in the country. The center also offers several group prayer services, community service opportunities, and personal counseling services.
47. Hamilton College- Meditation Room
Hamilton College offers several spaces through their center for religion and spiritual life. One of these spaces is the meditation room. This room is open for students, faculty, and staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week as long as the college is in session. The space is used three times a week by the Yoga club and used weekly for the Meditation club’s group meditation. When the space is not used by groups, it is also open for quiet reflection. Many people who come for private reflection end up joining one of these groups and go on to meet dozens of amazing friends.
46. Miami University – Ford Family Meditation & Reflection Room
Miami University is an institution that cares about the well-being of their students. It is for this reason they plan to build the Ford Family Meditation and reflection room. The designs for this building show a space that will make use of the area’s natural beauty to heighten the tranquility of the space.
45. Santa Clara University- Benson Center
The Benson Center is located on the Southwest corner of the Santa Clara University campus. The center offers a great collection of spiritual literature. It contains the holy book of several faiths, as well as spiritual works by other writers. There are also resources for various meditation styles. The center includes a zabuton, a zafou, prayer rugs, and a meditation bench. This shows how the center is dedicated to equally supporting all of the faiths that are represented in their spiritual community.
44. University of Wisconsin-River Falls- Meditation Rooms
The meditation rooms at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls were built in 2013. They were in response to a wide demand among students for a space where they could quietly reflect and de-stress. In just a short time, it has already become the go-to relaxation space on campus. It was designed to be a place where any person of any faith can feel comfortable enough to reconnect with their inner selves. On any given day, students of all faiths can be found using the meditation rooms to their full benefit.
43. Carthage College- Walter Fritsch Meditation Chapel
The Walter Fritsch Meditation Chapel is located right across from Lentz Hall on the Carthage College campus. It was built out of Lannon stone and has timber frames that give it a tranquil atmosphere. This space can fit up to forty people and is often used for small-group meditation. It also offers Eucharist and prayer services. One of its most beautiful features is a stunning Greek Cross made by Eugene Potente Jr., an internationally recognized artist. The Walter Fritsch Meditation Chapel may not be the largest on the campus of Carthage College, but it can sure be argued that it has the most spirit.
42. University of Maryland at Baltimore County- Meditation Space at the Women Center( &Lactation Room)
The University of Maryland at Baltimore County is unique in that it offers a meditative space geared directly towards women. Women have extra worries and stresses during college life that men simply don’t have to worry about. The meditation space at the Women’s Center provides a safe and comfortable environment for women to bond with other women over their shared experiences. It also provides a lactation room for new mothers. This room is stocked with a hospital-grade breast pump. It is one of only a few such rooms on campuses across the country.
41. Richland College- Outdoor Meditation Space Labyrinth
The labyrinth is a meditation tool that has been used by countless ancient cultures. In the mythology of these cultures, the labyrinth serves as a metaphor for the inner maze that leads to the discovery of the authentic self. The Outdoor Meditation Space Labyrinth at Richland College has re-created this meditative tool for the modern student. Modeled after the 13th-century Chartres Labyrinth, this meditative space features bricks engraved with the names of faculty members who dedicated over 35 years of their lives to the college. There is also a water pump to mark the original farmland on which the university was built. These structures encapsulate the Richland spirit and help the current generation of students face the stresses of academia.
40. Sacramento State College- The University Union Meditation Room
The student community at Sacramento State College wanted a dedicated space for reflection. The college met their desires with the University Union Meditation Room. This room embraces a minimalist design. It contains just a couple chairs. The rest of the space is an open floor. It has one window that lets in natural light and heightens the meditative experience. Students are allowed to use this lovely space to unwind for up to 15 minutes at a time.
39. Normandale Community College- The Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden on Normandale Community College’s Bloomington, Minnesota campus was originally thought of in 1967. Five years later it was opened for use and has been serving the campus and the local community for over four decades. The Japanese garden transports visitors from Minnesota to a serene garden in pastoral Japan. It was designed by Takao Watanabe, a renowned garden architect from Tokyo who designed the garden with authenticity in mind. It features 300 artfully pruned shrubs and skillfully placed stones at the entrance gate. These stones promote stability and inner-strength, which is an overarching theme of the garden. Just inside the entry gate is the Square Shelter. Made out of cedar, this gathering space offers a panoramic view of the garden. Another prominent feature is the Bentendo, which is a hexagon-shaped building that serves as a memorial to the 6,000 Japanese Military Intelligence Service Language Veterans who were stationed in Minnesota during world war II. Other notable features include a lagoon, a waterfall, a beautiful bridge, and five memorial benches.
38. University of Maryland- The Garden of Reflection and Remembrance
The Garden of Reflection and Remembrance at the University of Maryland was dedicated in 2010. It contains several different spaces that are dedicated to both spirituality and sustainability. The entry portal takes visitors right to the room with the reflection pool. After taking a moment for reflection visitors follow one of the several paths that meander to secluded gardens that offer spaces for private meditation. The garden also contains a main path that leads to the facilities’ labyrinth and a memorial dedicated to Vietnam veterans. These features make the Garden of Reflection and Remembrance one of the top-rated campus meditation spaces in the country.
37. University of Mary Washington – James Farmer Multicultural Center Meditation Space
The James Farmer Multicultural Center Meditation Space at the University of Mary Washington is a popular retreat for students who need to spend some time alone. It is a space specifically reserved for individual and silent reflection and meditation. Located on the second floor of the Hamlet house, this center is an important part of weekly worship for several students no matter their faith.
36. Duquesne University- Interfaith Meditation Room
The Interfaith Meditation Room at Duquesne University is a space offered by the University Counseling and Wellbeing Center. The space is available for all students, faculty, and staff. It is used heavily by members of the campus community who find themselves in need of an escape from the fast pace of academia. During finals, many students use the room to decompress after exams. The room has a shoe rack made of bamboo and a small altar that features rotating images. It also has meditation benches, cushions, and prayer beads for those who wish to use them.
35. University of the Pacific- Reflection Pool
The administration at University of the Pacific takes the spiritual wellness of their students seriously. It offers free counseling services, yoga classes, and an Interfaith and Social Justice Residential learning community. No matter what a student’s designated faith, one common goal is achieving inner peace. On the east side of the DeRosa University Center is a peaceful Zen garden, and in front of the center is the reflection pool, which is the crown jewel of the university’s spiritual facilities. The reflection pool is a place where students come to reflect both in solitude and in groups. It has been home to candlelight vigils, prayer services, and other types of spiritual gatherings throughout the years.
34. Nazareth College- Meditation Garden
The Meditation Garden at Nazareth College is a tribute to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester. It serves as a living reminder of the generosity and servitude the sisters exhibited when they founded the University in 1924. The centerpiece of the meditation garden is a seven-circuit labyrinth modeled after the famous labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral in France. This labyrinth was designed in the 13th century and has since been replicated all over the world. Students of Nazareth use the labyrinth in many ways. Some use it to calm their thoughts by focusing on the path while others use it to meditate on a specific idea or concept to gain clarity.
33. University of Arkansas- Garvan Gardens & Chapel
Garvan Gardens sits in the picturesque Ouachita Mountains in Southwest Arkansas. It is a lovely botanical garden that spans 210 acres. What sets apart Garvan Gardens from other botanical gardens is its woodland setting. The majestic trees that tickle the sky add a sense of calming perspective for those who use the space for spiritual wholeness. Within the gardens are such notable areas as the bridge of the full moon, Weyerhauser bonsai garden, the garden of the pine wind, and Perry wildflower overlook. On the property is also the Anthony Chapel complex, which is composed of four structures and a meditation garden. It has served as the location for hundreds of weddings for University of Arkansas staff, faculty, and alumni
32. Carleton College- Japanese Garden
Situated behind Watson Hall, the Japanese Garden at Carleton Hall is a popular gathering place of the college’s spiritual community. It’s name is “Jo-ryo-en”, which means ” The Garden of Quiet Listening”. It was designed by David Slawson and has served thousands of students since its opening in 1974. This exquisite garden is routinely regarded as one of the top Japanese gardens in the country, and for good reason. It serves as the spiritual heart of the Carleton College campus. Students can be found using the space for prayer, meditation, and a silent reading space. It is especially used as a study space during exams for its serene atmosphere.
31. High Point University- The Chapel & Meditation Garden
The meditation garden at High Point University is one of the original botanical gardens at the Mariana H. Qubein Arboretum. A favorite spot of visitors is a pleasant Arbor that overlooks a stunning fountain. At all hours of the day, students can be found here lounging in the shade. Featured plants include the Hardy Confederate Jessamine, Cape Jessamine, Sweet boxes, and Daphnes. In the winter of 2013-2014 renovations were done to the east side of the chapel. It added several white-flowering plants that added a pleasant fragrance to the area.
30. University of St. Thomas- Gueymard Meditation Garden
The Gueymard Meditation Garden was added to the University of St. Thomas campus during the 2005-2006 school year. Built on the west side of the campus chapel, at the center of this garden is a labyrinth. The labyrinth is flanked by local shrubs and flowers, and encasing the flowers is a gravel walkway made from Crepe Myrtles. The Gueymard Meditation garden is filled with symbolism. At the north end are three beautiful fountains that represent the holy trinity, and there are four benches; one for each corner of the prayer garden. This symmetry contributes to the serene atmosphere that helps students reconnect with their spirituality.
29. University of Southern Maine – Space for Prayer, Meditation, Reflection
The Space for Prayer, Meditation, and Reflection at the University of Southern Maine has something to offer for members of all faiths. In the early afternoons Monday through Thursday, the space is reserved for Muslim students so that they can observe their Salat prayers. The space offers cushions, prayer rugs, and meditation benches. It also has markings on the floor to indicate the direction of Mecca. The space can either be used individually or reserved for group use.
28. University of Tampa- Sykes Chapel Garden
The University of Tampa is an institution that is committed to using spirituality to create harmony between members of different faiths, ethnicities, and cultures. Since its inception the Sykes Chapel, garden has served as a spiritual and cultural hub for University of Tampa students. Every flower, shrub, and structure of this space was designed to help students rediscover their spiritual side. It has helped countless students rediscover their path when the temptations of the college life have caused them to stray.
27. Metropolitan State University- Metropolitan State University Library’s Labyrinth Garden
Metropolitan State University is an institution that is dedicated to community involvement. The Metropolitan State University Library’s Labyrinth Garden is a product of this involvement. The labyrinth has become favorite students and local community members as a space for getting in touch with one’s inner spirit. It also has served as a facilitator for building relationships with different spiritual organizations within the community. The Labyrinth Garden is a microcosm of the relationship between the inner community on campus and the outer community. It is a metaphor for the need for the two communities to maintain a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship.
26. University of San Francisco- Interfaith Meditation Room
The Interfaith Meditation Room at the University of San Francisco is located in Phelan Hall. In 2010, this space was provided in response to student demand and has since become a pillar of the spiritual community. The main decorative theme of the room is the tree of life, which is found throughout several cultures. Other symbols include bells, geometric patterns, windows, and rugs. Together these features combine to provide a truly tranquil reflective space that accommodates members of all faiths.
25. Naropa University- Meditation Halls
Naropa University is an institution that takes their spiritual community seriously. They could not let any of their campus go without a meditative space, so they built three meditation halls. There is one for each campus, and each one serves as a hub for students to help each other unwind from the stresses of classes. There is also space to reflect privately. Many students can thank the halls for providing the common ground that brought them to some of their best relationships.
24. Marywood University- Meditation Garden
The Marywood University Meditation Garden serves as a communal gathering place for students on campus. Ideas and beliefs are exchanged between students of different cultures, which builds friendships under the guide of the divine. The stone benches and stone structures symbolize the quiet inner strength necessary to navigate life’s perils. This space serves as an outdoor compliment to the Swartz Center for Spiritual Life. Combined these two facilities are the backbone of Marywood University’s strong spiritual community.
23. Chatham University- Jessica’s Labyrinth
Dedicated to Jessica Grimes Davant, Jessica’s Labyrinth measures 60 ft in diameter and contains seven circuits. It is modeled after the “medieval” design, which first hit church floors in the 9th century. The Labyrinth has one entrance and exit and is meant to be experienced in three stages. The first stage is the journey to the center, which allows the user to shed their outside stresses. The second stage is receiving, which is the moments of meditation spent at the center. The third stage is the journey outward, which is the transport of inner peace from the labyrinth to the outside world.
22. College of the Canyons- Meditation Garden (Garden of the Canyons)
The Meditation Garden at the College of the Canyons is the newest planned addition to their famous “garden of the canyons” collection. The meditation garden is going to be located just west of the tennis courts and will be used as a place of quiet reflection. It will also play host to classes on meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi. The garden will be designed with aromatherapy in mind. There will be over 20 species of flowers, plants, and trees that all will contribute to the garden’s tranquil scent. It is shaping up to be the crown jewel of the Garden of the Canyons.
21. Sam Houston State University – Old Main Pit
The Old Main Pit has been a centerpiece of campus life at Sam Houston State University for over 25 years. The pit was constructed by excavating a significant portion of the eastern grounds and gives students the feeling that they are entering a special space. Since its construction, it has served as a meeting place for students to unwind from the stresses of campus life. On a sunny day, dozens of students from all of the academic disciplines can be found lounging and enjoying the social aspect of the college experience. In addition to providing a serene meditation space, the Old Main Pit is also used for campus events like speakers, musical performances, and student activities-sponsored fundraisers.
20. Rhodes College- Collins Garden
The Claire Markham Collins Meditation garden has become a big part of campus life at Rhodes College since its opening in 2005. It was given by the family of Garnett J. Caldwell, who was a 1981 alumnus. Since its opening the Collins, the garden has become the go-to space for students who are going through stressful times. It contains stone benches that are arranged around a stone circle. The space is surrounded by trees and contains nice foliage on the ground during the fall. The leaves from the trees give users the feeling of peaceful seclusion.
19. Temple University- Healing Garden
The healing garden at Temple University was dedicated in 2009 to Ernesta Ballard. Ballard, an alumni of Temple, served as the head of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society from 1963 to 1981. During her tenure, she created a nationally recognized community gardening program. When she fell victim to a stroke, she became interested in the healing properties of gardens. After her death in 2005 the university dedicated the healing garden in her name for her love of horticulture. The space was planted and maintained by students and has helped dozens of people heal both their body and mind from the ailments caused by stress and anxiety.
18. University of Minnesota- Sensory Garden & University of Minnesota Arboretum
The University of Minnesota Arboretum is home to several beautiful gardens. One of the most popular gardens among staff and students is the Clotilde Irvine Sensory Garden. This garden was designed for the therapeutic horticulture program, which means that every feature was strategically placed to create the most relaxing atmosphere possible. The auditory sense is stimulated through the calming sounds of three water features. The color tiles bring sight and touch, and the flowers emit a pleasant scent. These all serve to ground visitors in the present and let their worries about the past and the future melt away.
17. Bard College- Anna Jones Meditation Garden
The Anna Jones Meditation Garden at Bard College was dedicated in memory of student Anna Margaret Jones on May 17,2001. Since then the garden has become a nexus of campus spiritual life. Its location between the Fisher Studio Arts building and the Chapel of the Holy Innocents make it a great place for quiet reflection after a class or prayer service. It features smooth, flat stones that offer aesthetically pleasing seating for meditation. The space is corralled by a wooden fence that adds a pastoral touch to the garden’s atmosphere.
16. Duke University- Labyrinth of Stillness (Center for Integrative Medicine)
The Labyrinth of Stillness is located behind the Center for Integrative Medicine on the Duke University campus. It is one of the several landscaped spaces that were allocated when the campus was designed by the nationally recognized Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm. The labyrinth is artfully constructed with pebbles and contains a singular path to the center. Dr. Jeffrey Blantley, the frequent user of the labyrinth, says the purpose is to learn that one must only focus on the journey instead of the destination in order to achieve inner peace.
15. University of Michigan- Matthaei Botanical Gardens Labyrinth
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens at the University of Michigan spans over 300 acres. It contains several research-quality habitats and dozens of species of flowers, plants, and trees. The garden is home to several activities for visitors, like hikes and guided tours. One of the post popular spaces at the garden is the labyrinth. This labyrinth was modeled after the Baltic Labyrinth, which provides a short exit path out of the center. This option is seen by some to be a test of inner strength, as the short exit can be seen as skipping the full meditative effect of the labyrinth.
14. Carnegie Mellon University- Mindfulness Room
The mindfulness room at Carnegie Mellon University is located on the bottom floor of the West Wing. It is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week to any student or faculty member who needs to escape the stress of their hectic lives. It has helped some of the country’s brightest minds develop the inner strength necessary to succeed in college and go on to make significant impacts in they chosen
13. Colorado College- The Labyrinth
Colorado College is a campus with a tight-knit spiritual community. The campus labyrinth is located just north of the Shove Chapel. Patrons from the chapel often include a reflective walk through the labyrinth to complete their day of spirituality. Students can be found walking the labyrinth in between classes or before a big exam. Following the path of the labyrinth releases the stress of the student and allows them to focus on achieving their goals. It has also served as a meeting ground for dozens of people whose relationships blossomed into life-long friendships.
12. The University of California at Berkeley- Tilden Meditation Space at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union
The University of California at Berkeley is a college that listens to the desire of their students. When a growing group of students expressed their desire for a dedicated meditation space, Berkeley turned the Tilden room at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union. This meditation space has become popular especially among the Muslim student population; however, it is open and used by members of all faiths. Due to the popularity of this meditation space, Berkeley has plans to build a permanent space at the Lower Sproul Plaza. It is a project that has the whole campus community excited about its completion.
11. University of Redlands- Meditation Rooms
The meditation rooms at the University of Redlands were opened in 2007. They were some of the first contemplative classroom spaces in the country. The rooms are stocked with meditation supplies, such as prayer beads, benches, and cushions. It provides a relaxing atmosphere and calming ambiance for students to de-stress from campus life. One of the motto’s of the colleges’ mission is “Know Thyself”, which is evident in the dedication of these meditation rooms. Students can use the room themselves or sign up for classes to learn from teachers.
10. Boston College- Multi-faith Center
Boston College is an institution that prides itself on its spiritual diversity. Students of all faiths build relationships and share ideas throughout their time at BU. One of the hubs of this spiritual diffusion is the Multi-faith center. It is connected to the residence hall 66 Commonwealth Avenue but has its exterior entrances. The space is available for individual use or can be reserved by groups through the campus ministry.
9. Allegheny College- Prayer & Meditation Retreat
The Prayer and Meditation Retreat at Allegheny College has become the spiritual center for the college’s Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu communities. The facility has several amenities, which include a full kitchen. The kitchen is used to prepare food for the periodic events hosted at the retreat. The second floor of the structure has a specific room dedicated to each faith. The building is unique in that it is inclusive, yet still provides a dedicated spot for each faith to flourish. Students have chosen the name of “retreat” because they view it as a retreat from the busy life on campus.
8. Macalester College- Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel
This stunning chapel was donated to Macalester College in 1969 by the F.T. Weyerhaeuser family. It has served as the center of spiritual life for over forty years. On the bottom floor is the office for campus religion and spiritual life. Within the chapel is also a mosque to serve the Muslim community. Even though Macalester got its start as a Presbyterian college, it has grown to a college filled with spiritual diversity. Many alumni of Macalester College look fondly upon their memories meeting like-minded people at the Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel.
7. Stanford University- Windhover Contemplative Center
The Windhover Contemplative Center is Stanford University’s newest addition to its spiritual structures. It was dedicated on October 8, 2014 in a private ceremony and opened for student use the next day. Although it is too early to declare this space a spiritual hub, it has already become wildly popular among students. In the Spring of 2015 the Windhover Center plans to offer its inaugural classes on the art of contemplation and meditation. This class goes over the basics of meditation so students can fully utilize the many benefits of this serene space.
6. Elon University- Numen Lumen Multi-Faith Center
The Numen Lumen Multi-Faith Center was opened in 2013 and has become a hit on the campus of Elon University. It is located next to the Phi Beta Kappa plaza in the academic village. There are several structures that make up the multi-faith center. The Numen Lumen Pavilion offers sponsored dialogs between faiths in order to foster the growth of the spiritual community. The pavilion plays host to the Vera Richardson Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. It is also the home of the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society.
5. University of Kansas- Danforth Chapel
The Danforth Chapel at the University of Kansas was dedicated way back in 1946. It was built from a donation by William Danforth and has since gone on to become the nexus of the University of Kansas religious community. This pastoral chapel has been home to the weddings and christenings of several staff, faculty, and alumni members. It contains beautiful stained glass windows and offers a lovely place for people to re-connect with their inner spirituality. The chapel offers guided services and also is open for students who need private reflection.
4. Colgate University- Chapel House
This spiritual sanctuary is not only an integral part of the Colgate spiritual community, but a part of the larger Hamilton community as well. This chapel house offers a great space for students to come and spend a moment of serene reflection to achieve inner balance. Members of any religions are welcome to come and learn the health benefits to both mind and body that yoga and meditation offer. There are weekly classes on yoga, meditation, Buddhist chanting, and classical Indian dance. This diverse selection has brought Eastern spiritual philosophy to western life.
3. Cornell University- Cornell Plantations
The Cornell Plantations in Ithaca, New York offer one of the largest campus-affiliated meditation spaces in the country. Situated next to the main campus, one part of the plantations is a beautiful botanical garden that spans 25 acres. Many of the great minds of America have taken leisurely strolls of quiet reflection through this garden’s serene beauty. The rest of the plantation is made up of the F.R. Newman Arboretum, which pans over 150 acres. It features native trees such as crabapple, nut, oaks, and maples, which serve as the perfect companions to heal one’s spirits. The Cornell Plantations offer an escape from the academic pressures of such an elite institution, providing the balance between mind and spirit that has been a common quality among history’s greatest women and men.
2. Skidmore College- Gazebo on Haupt Pond
The department of religion and spiritual life at Skidmore College has many fine features to be proud of. The campus features a memorial bridge for students to reflect and Wilson Chapel, a non-denominational chapel that serves as the hub for campus prayer services. One of the best outdoor spaces on the Skidmore campus is the Gazebo on Haupt Pond. On nice days, this Gazebo always has students soaking in some sun in between classes. It is a great place to stare into your reflection in the pond’s surface, which heightens the effect of meditation.
1. DePauw University- Bartlett Reflection Center
The Bartlett Reflection Center at DePauw University is one of the best in the country for a number of reasons. Not only is it a vital part of the campus spiritual community, but it offers one of the most exquisite views on any college campus across the country. The reflection center is situated on a hillside that overlooks DePauw nature park. This serene beauty perfectly complements the patron’s desire to reconnect with their spirituality by becoming one with nature.