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To: Cheryl May, Administrative Services

From: Ahmed Gouda
Date: 27 November, 2016
Subject: Proposal to Introduce a Meditation Room at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo
Attached is a recommendation report outlining the need for a meditation room on Cal Poly
campus. The purpose of this report is to introduce a way on campus of promoting selfdevelopment and to cater to people of all different kinds of racial and religious backgrounds.
There are two possible recommendations discussed through this report to the creation of the
meditation room. They are the following:

A meditation room at the Robert E. Kennedy Library

A meditation room at the University Union

In order to get an educated understanding of how a meditation room would benefit our Cal Poly
campus. They include the following primary sources:

Personal Interview with Tarek Gouda

Online Survey of Cal Poly Students

These are the secondary sources:

Two peer-reviewed journal articles

A news article

All information involving statistics are reported in the Results section. I then use these statistics
and findings as analysis in the Conclusions section,
Final Recommendation
The solution I found to be both the most useful and cost-efficient is to establish a meditation
room at the Robert E. Kennedy Library.
Thank you for the consideration of this report, I look forward to hearing back from you. Please
contact me if you are in need of any other information.

Prepared for Cheryl May

Administrative Services

Proposal to Introduce a Meditation Room at Cal Poly in San

Luis Obispo

Prepared by Ahmed Gouda

Submitted 27 November, 2016

Table of Contents
Introduction 4-5
Primary.... 5
Secondary. 5-6
Results 6-7
Primary. 6-7
Secondary. 7
Conclusions 8
Figures Cited..9

Table of Figures
Figure 1: Meditation Effect on Anxiety ..4
Figure 2: Meditation Room Survey .6
Figure 3: Free Religious Practice Survey 7

In this report, I am hoping to draw attention for the need of a meditation room at Cal Poly. This
topic is substantial because meditation is scientifically proven to show a positive correlation
towards both physical and mental health [1]. In conjunction to this fact, a meditation room
would also provide a space for people of all faiths to practice freely on campus. This brings
communities together while also promoting a way of self-development. My two
recommendations are the following:

A meditation room in the Robert E. Kennedy Library

A meditation room in the University Union on Cal Poly Campus

I am a board member of MSA (Muslim Student Association) at Cal Poly and for years we have
been looking for a safe space to pray on campus. Along with that I have talked to members of
different religious clubs including CRU (a Christian club) and Hillel (a Jewish Club) and found
that this need for a meditation room is felt throughout all different kinds of communities.
My client is Tarek Gouda, the MSA president of UCSD. UCSD was able to establish a meditation
room in their library years back through MSA and other religious clubs while he was on board.
My goal is to use the procedure they had used to work as a blueprint for how to establish a
meditation room on a public campus.
Christians have sermons to express faith and get closer to their religion. Muslims are required to
pray five times a day at allocated times. Most other religions have a similar sort of procedure;
meaning that many times daily it is needed to have a space to express faith without interruption
or distraction. A meditation room would fill this void.
Many universities worldwide have already started the precedent of having meditation rooms
including public universities such as UC Berkeley [2]. These rooms are utilized on a daily basis
and have proven to be beneficial to students and staff, providing a safe space for expression.

Figure 1: Meditation Effect on Anxiety [6]

Meditating is also seen as a form of alternative healing and has proven to be beneficial in many
regards. It is uncostly, uninvasive, and has fewer side effects than classical options of healing [3].
It has also shown to help with self-awareness and anxiety as shown in Figure 1. A place on campus
to promote these things would be not only helpful for people of faith, but for people who need to
find a way to have a release from stress and distractions.

Most of the research conducted for this report was to show if there is indeed a need for a
meditation room on campus. My sources include an interview with Tarek Gouda, a survey
asking students if they feel the need to create a meditation room, scholarly journals, and a news

Primary Methods
Interview [4]
Tarek Gouda
Tarek Gouda is the MSA president in the University of California, San Diego. MSA was
instrumental to establishing a meditation room on that campus. I chose to interview him
based off the fact that there are many parallels between UCSD and Cal Poly due to them
both being public universities and a lot of methods they used would in turn help with the
establishment of a meditation room in Cal Poly.
Online Meditation Room Survey [5]
Through the meditation room survey I looked to see if the need for said
meditation room is felt throughout campus. 118 students were surveyed through, starting with background of what a meditation room could be used
for, followed by the following questions:

What year are you currently?

Do you feel there is there a need for a place on campus where students could go
to aid anxiety and stress?
Do you have any religious affiliation?
o If so, have you felt the need for a judgement free zone to practice
Do you think a meditation room will be beneficial to the Cal Poly Campus?

Secondary Methods
Scholarly Journals
Meditation and attention
This academic journal talks about how meditation affects different parts of how
meditation affects you including performance through meditation and attention control.
I will use this to show that meditation could be beneficial for students success. [1]
Mindfulness-based meditation to decrease stress anxiety in college
This study shows correlation between meditation and anxiety and physiological stress
levels. I will use information from this article to show that meditation could be helpful to
decrease anxiety in college student, which is a prominent problem. [3]
News Article
Meditation room in student union to provide space for thought, prayer
This news article speaks on the creation of a meditation room on UC Berkeleys campus.
It being a public school shows that its well in the ability of a public school to
accommodate for people of all different religious beliefs.

Primary Methods
I asked Tarek Gouda the following questions and he responded with the following[4]:
1. What was the beginning step of making it a serious effort to push for a meditation room
on campus?
First off, it was necessary to find the right people to talk to who have the final say on
space allocation on campus. When we did that we were told to show that there was a
need on campus for it, we then responded with a petition of people of all different
backgrounds and faiths.
2. Was it easy to find people to agree to the petition?
Initially people didnt understand the concept of what a meditation room would do for
the campus, but once it became apparent that it would be a safe space for everyone of all
different backgrounds, we quickly gained support from different clubs and people.
3. How long did it take for things to come into action, and after the initial push, what other
work was involved?
Even with the petition, it was not enough to cause things to change, what was necessary
was a blueprint of what could be a plan to minimize cost and time. This took about a year
to fully come into play. Things dont always move at the pace you want them to with
these kind of things because there is a lot more things that take precedent over
something like this. Luckily we had a study room area in our library which was easily
transferred to the meditation room.
4. Any other tips you could give me to establish the meditation room at Cal Poly?
Be patient, before we got it done there had been many efforts to establish a sort of
meditation room. All it takes is a sort of determination and a following that feel the same
need as you do.
Meditation Room Survey
Of the 118 people I interviewed, 90 people said they felt a need for a place on campus
where students could go to aid anxiety and stress. 73 said that they had religious
affiliation, and of those 73, 61 said that they feel the need for a religious space to practice
freely. Overall, 75 said that they felt a meditation room was needed [5].

Feel Need For

Meditation Room



Figure 2: Meditation Room Survey [5]

Feel Need To Practice

Religion Freely



Figure 3: Free Religious Practice [5]

Secondary Methods
Meditation and attention
From this academic journal, it was shown that those who meditate have a better
attention span than those who dont. It describes three forms of attention:

an alerting network controlling the state of alertness and vigilance

an orienting network organizing the goal-oriented focusing of attention
an executive network controlling the response execution

Through the study it was shown that meditation causes people to get significantly higher
scores in tests involving these 3 criteria of attention [1].
Mindfulness-based meditation to decrease stress anxiety in college
In this study, it states that 53.5% of students reported that their anxiety and stress was
above average or extreme [3]. Elsewhere in the study it states that high level of anxiety
tends to affect grades negatively. Among the research in this study, the most common
had to deal with anxiety after mindful meditation. There were 31 different studies, and in
24 of them, researchers found that overall anxiety decreased after meditation. Overall
the following conclusions came from the academic journal:

Meditation was reported as effective in decreasing stress in 78%

Meditation was reported as effective in decreasing anxiety in 77%
Meditation was reported as effective in raising mindfulness in 94%

News Article
Meditation room in student union to provide space for thought, prayer
In this News Article, Berkeley students and faculty speak on what benefits the meditation
room has given the campus.

I think its really cool because the room is open to all students of all different
faiths and beliefs, said Aileen Kim, a Christian student on campus, in an email.
It accommodates individual spiritual needs [2].
We want every student on campus to feel comfortable going there, Landis said.

Through my research it became apparent how beneficial a meditation room would be to the Cal
Poly Campus. The ability that meditation has to affect attention and anxiety would prove to be
beneficial due to the fact of how commonplace those are in a college campus. In the article about
UC Berkeleys meditation room, it shows that the meditation room is always in use and that it
has proven to be beneficial to people of all different kinds of backgrounds and faiths. This would
promote diversity at the Cal Poly campus, something that the school has been seeking to
improve these past years.
My first recommendation is to create a meditation room in the Robert E Kennedy Library. This
recommendation makes sense for many reasons, including the fact that meditation could
increase productivity in studying by increasing attention span and decreasing anxiety
levels[1][3]. This is crucial in the Robert E. Kennedy Library, a place where students go to study
and read on a daily basis. Another reason why the library would be an ideal place for the
meditation room is the amount of space the library has. On the second, third, and fourth floor
there are fishbowls, independent rooms that students could go to for group study, with tinted
windows and soundproof doors, an ideal place for a meditation room. One of these could easily
be transferred without putting much of a strain on cost as well as promoting privacy to those
using the room.
My second recommendation is to create a meditation room at the University Union on campus.
The University Union is a place on campus that promotes diversity and is also used as a student
study space. A meditation room would prove to be a great addition to the University Union for
these reasons. Some possible negatives to the University Union that the library doesnt is that
its much louder and do not have much possible space for creation of a meditation room.
Otherwise, it has the same advantages as the library, plus the factor that it is already a space that
promotes diversity.
Overall, I believe that a meditation room at the Robert E. Kennedy Library would have more of a
chance of success, providing the factor of cost and intended purpose of the meditation room.

Based on my research and investigation, I recommend that the Robert E. Kennedy Library
creates a meditation room to provide for people of different faiths, backgrounds, and ideals, as
well as to provide a way to aid anxiety and increase attention span in students and faculty on

[1]H. Jo, S. Schmidt, E. Inacker, M. Markowiak and T. Hinterberger, "Meditation and attention:
aaa A controlled study on long-term meditators in behavioral performance and event-related
aaa potentials of attentional control", International Journal of Psychophysiology, vol. 99, pp.
aaa 33-39, 2016.
[2]S. Lewis, "Meditation room in student union to provide space for thought, prayer | The Daily
aaa Californian", The Daily Californian, 2016. [Online]. Available:
aaaa [Accessed: 26- Nov- 2016].
[3]M. Bamber and J. Kraenzle Schneider, "Mindfulness-based meditation to decrease stress
aaaaanxiety in college students: A narrative synthesis of the research", Educational
aaaaResearch Review, vol. 18, pp. 1-32, 2016.
[4]"Tarek Gouda: Interview Regarding Meditation Room", Rancho Cucamonga, California.
[5]A. Gouda, "Meditation Room Survey", California Polytechnic University, 2016.

Figures Referenced
[5] Figure 2. Meditation Room Survey, Survey. 20 November, 2016.
[5] Figure 3. Free Religious Practice, Survey. 20 November, 2016.
[6] Figure 1. Meditation Effect on Anxiety, Journal of Clinical Psychology, March