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Prayer Room Remodel

Remodel the prayer room in the Engineering Science Building

Project Leader(s): Karen Culcasi, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Geology and Geography
Collaborator(s): Muslim Student Association

Working with the Muslim Student Association, we are proposing to remodel the prayer room in the Engineering Science Building, which is a small converted storage room. We will do this in conjunction with an awareness campaign about Islam in general and the practices of Muslim prayer specifically. Last year, I was awarded a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council for a research project on everyday experiences of West Virginian Muslims, including a specific focus on how WV Muslims may or may not experience discrimination (from overt hostilities to microaggressions). I am finding that discrimination towards Muslims stems mostly from ignorance and that WVU’s Muslim community does indeed experience different forms of discrimination. The remodeling of this room will include a wall-to-wall rug, fresh paint, and new signage. We will also create educational resources that explain the significance of prayer for Muslims and garner respect for this space. There will be a scannable QR code on the room’s signage to direct people’s attention to an informational web page we will design and maintain. There will also be an informational leaflet at the door with similar information. We hope to have a small ceremony to open the remodeled prayer room, which will be another opportunity to teach the wider WVU community about the practices of Muslim prayer. Ultimately, I hope that this project will improve the campus climate for this underrepresented population and help to educate the broader community about this aspect of Islam. This project will also signal WVU’s support for Muslims already on campus as well as for potential new students, faculty and staff of the Islamic faith.