About the Garden of Reflection and Remembrance
The goal was to construct a lush, open space for meditation—a place free from everyday demands, like clogged commuter routes and stressful schedules. In the wake of this, and recent tragedies both national and close to home, it has never been more important for the campus community to have a place to stop and reflect. To address this need, the Memorial Chapel was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Open Spaces Sacred Places Foundation to create a garden of Reflection and Remembrance on the South side of the Chapel in the spring of 2007.
The Garden of Reflection and Remembrance contains many elements that come together to create an area uniquely for contemplation. The labyrinth is a sanctuary for those who walk while they think, while benches offer a place for those who want to sit still. Water features add a soothing dynamic, while journals allow the community to express their emotions. Additional spaces commemorate the bravery of our veterans as well as historic university milestones.
This garden is a deeply treasured gem on campus, a place with established ties to the community. It has served as a focal point for numerous programs, most notably the Walk for Remembrance in honor of September 11. It has helped many remember their loved ones or come to terms with the turbulent changes life so often hurls in our path. And it is a pleasant space for everyday visits—a place to pause and catch your breath.
The garden is representative of the campus religious diversity as well as community cohesion, and marries refreshing natural energy with quiet solace. Stop by sometime—all are welcome.
We also offer a number of guided programs in the Garden and Labyrinth.
The Gardened Heart Journal Project
In the Garden of Reflection and Remembrance, journals sit on shelves under two benches, waiting for visitors to write on their blank pages. Throughout the seasons, students, staff, community members, parents, and alumni have filled these journals with quick notes, long reveries, hopes, dreams, and sorrows. The passage of time is indicated in the journals as the semester begins, midterms approach, finals come crashing down, summer nears, and graduation is celebrated.
Writers expressed an eagerness to connect with their community on the journal pages, a yearning to be heard, and a need for their story to be recorded. Some authors simply desired to express their thoughts and feelings, however profound, insignificant, or fleeting. Overall, the tone of the journal entries is one of sharing, concern, and honest discernment.
As with many projects, this one began with a question: “What are people sharing or experiencing through the journals?” This simple question came to be answered through an engaging and eye-opening process. In the end, fifteen journals were reviewed, containing 3,162 journal entries/excerpts (including drawings). This report focuses on the themes of religion, contemplation, meditation, thoughtfulness, the garden and labyrinth, sacred places, relationships, campus experiences, suicide and depression, and encouragement and community.
Click here to view the final product in all its beauty. These pages will make you smile, make you laugh, and make you cry. On each page, a new unique and personal story worth sharing.