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Palomar College prepares for a new holistic approach to student wellness

Palomar College has construction occurring all throughout campus, but there may be plans to have another project under way with a meditation room.

“The main basis of college is to be as inclusive as possible. In order to maintain that view and purpose, we want people to know it’s not exclusively for some religion,” said Armando Contreras, 21, Associated Student Government member and chairperson of the Inter Club Council.

“It’s been changed to help people have a better grasp on the idea. If we called it a praying room, most people would think it has to do with Catholics praying, Jewish, or Muslim – that sort of idea. So in order to avoid that, we wanted everybody to know you can do whatever you want silently,” said Contreras.

Originally, the Muslim Student Union club proposed the idea for a meditation room by using power points with all of the beneficial reasons to build one. They took the platform as initiators with the Inter Club Council as their audience, which is one of the main branches of Associated Student Government, or ASG. From there, the plans have made it all the way to the top for serious consideration.

“Fortunately, it was a positive reception for the idea and the next step was to bring it to the Facilities Review Committee about what the room pertained to. They then took it to the higher levels which are reviewing it by considering the budget, and development plans. From there, it would be added to Prop M,” Contreras said.

Prop M is a bond Palomar College uses to fund new buildings on campus. Contreras said the room may be located in the SU-area and added on top of the already existing buildings. For now, the room coming to fruition is within a tangible reality, but concrete plans have yet to be laid.

Contreras envisions a small, spacious room with a rug to make a relaxed setting, with space for students to lie on the floor or sit on comfortable chairs in silence. When it comes to concerns of students taking advantage of the room, such as using it to hang out or be on their computers, Contreras said it is an issue they worry about.

“One of the proposed solutions would be putting student workers to take charge of that room, but it would be difficult ’cause they’ll have other responsibilities. It will go down as a closed room which you would ask to be opened in order to avoid anybody just staying there to chat. That would defeat the main purpose. We were also thinking about a check out system, but these are all just ideas,” said Contreras.

In the meantime, students can take advantage of free meditation workshops happening on campus. KORU Mindfulness is led by Karan Huskey, a guidance counselor at Palomar College, and helps teach students about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.

“That would be so wonderful to have a meditation room on campus,” said Huskey. She shared numerous health benefits of meditation through email. Students can improve their academic performance by balancing their physical and emotional health, decreasing stress, increasing memory and the ability to pay attention. For more information, contact Huskey at 760-744-1150, ext. 3138.

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