This month, Gonzaga welcomed a new addition to its extensive list of existing clubs on campus — meditation club, providing students with all levels of experience. It gives students the space and community to participate and explore new meditation techniques.
The first official meeting of GU’s meditation club was Thursday, Nov. 4, and according to the club coordinators, seniors Daniel Cook and Henry Barber, it was a success.
“We really had no idea what to expect from the first meeting turnout wise, especially since we did not get much of a chance to advertise before it," Barber said.
According to Cook, even without widespread advertisement, he and Barber were happy with the turnout because it gave them the chance to meet and share their passion for meditation with new students.
“We ended up having five new people join us, so there were seven of us in total,” Cook said. “We were happy with this turn out, especially since there was a quick turnaround from the time we advertised until the meeting itself.”
The process of developing this new club began as Cook and Barber thought that this would be a great inclusion to campus culture here at GU. Their goal was to offer the community a safe and accessible space to learn and participate in the art of meditation.
“Whether you are trying meditation for the first time or are looking to deepen your practice, we hope to provide a safe and positive space for students to gather and to practice and learn together,” Cook said.
Barber says that meditation has always been an effective method for himself, and because of this, it seemed natural that something similar should be offered at GU.
According to Cook, he feels that meditation is important because it has the potential to benefit everyone.
“People are pursuing various meditative practices for many reasons, and there are students on campus who are looking for ways to implement meditation practices into their lives and meet others who share this interest,” Cook said. “Having a meditation club on campus is crucial to creating a space and community for students who have this interest in meditation.”
Assistant professor in the Religious Studies Department, Gloria Chien, said she decided to become the meditation club advisor after Cook took her Religions of Asia course that focused on meditation retreats in Buddhist monastic settings.
Cook, being so engaged with the topics taught in the course, decided to initiate a plan to develop a space for meditation practice to occur on campus.
“Before Daniel and Henry submitted their club proposal to GSBA, we had a productive meeting to discuss the club’s parameters and the goals,” Chien said. “We discussed how various types of meditation could promote the participants’ emotional and spiritual growth.”
Chien says she is delighted to accept Cook and Barber's invitation to be their club advisor because she admires the strong interest and passion that they both have for meditation.
“I’m inspired by their passion which also resonates with my own meditation experience that started when I was in college in Taiwan,” Chien said.
According to Chien, those looking to take a break from the normal stress that arises during the end of the semester can join in on a session of meditation on Thursday’s starting at 5 p.m.
Meetings last about 40 minutes and will take place weekly on the third floor of College Hall inside the Hearth Room behind the chapel.
Those interested in practicing meditation do not need to bring any additional materials with them to meetings.
“We have cushions and mats, which I purchased with the funding awarded by the Office of the Dean at the College of Arts and Sciences in the spring of 2018," Chien said. “The grant supported my research and teaching project for a course I taught, 'Compassion Meditation and Happiness' at Emory University, and I’m happy that we can keep sharing and using these resources in addition to my current course to expand the meditation practice at GU.”
Sign-ups are not required, so students are welcome to bring friends and take some time to reset before the end of the semester final projects and study sessions kick in.