Since UND began demolition on the Lotus Meditation Center on June 19, the members of the meditation group that regularly met there have felt displaced.
The university has provided them with a space for their meetings in room 17 of Swanson Hall, but Janet Rex, Chester Fritz Library research guide and leader of the meditation group, says this has presented its own set of problems, mostly financial.
The group typically meets on Monday evenings and Wednesday afternoons, but “if we have retreats on the weekends (…) now we’re going to be forced to pay fees,” Rex said. “When we had our own space, we could schedule the times when we wanted and weren’t paying fees all the time.”
Rex also says that over the summer, the Memorial Union was not open on Monday evenings, and the group could not access their space. Instead, group members took turns paying a rental fee to a local church each week.
The original center was built with a donation from Tamar Read, a former UND faculty member. Rex says there still exist some funds from Read’s original donation, but that the fees the group has incurred since losing their space have often needed to come out of pocket.
“We also had a lot of other groups that used the space (…) so people other than our group might feel a loss,” Rex said about the lost center. UND has said that Swanson 17 can be utilized by different campus groups when scheduled ahead of time as well.
Though Rex says that “some people may not continue with us because of the move,” she and other group members remain hopeful that they will be able to adjust to their new home now that the summer has ended and access to the space will become easier for the faculty, students, and community members that meet with the group for meditation.
Diane Newberry is the news editor for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]