University of Central Oklahoma campus labyrinth gives students a place to pause, reflect

by Silas Allen Modified: August 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm •  Published: August 26, 2013

When she talks about walking the long, meandering path through the labyrinth, Kelly Davis begins to flush and tears start to well up in her eyes.

The feelings that bubble to the surface now are the same ones Davis, 21, felt after her leadership class at the University of Central Oklahoma walked the path printed on canvas last spring.

“I was in tears by the time I was done,” she said.

The labyrinth Davis' class walked was a portable canvas model, designed to be folded up and stored in a closet when it isn't being used. But a new, permanent labyrinth on the UCO campus gives anyone on campus the chance to have the same experience anytime.

The labyrinth is an intricate circular design — a winding path leading to a rosette in the center. Although they're traditionally used for walking meditation, labyrinth designs have also appeared in artwork from the Roman Empire, medieval Europe and the pre-Columbian Americas.

Located just west of the Y Chapel, UCO's labyrinth is a replica of a 13th century installation at Chartres Cathedral in France. It's open to UCO's faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the community.

The labyrinth is the first of its kind at a public university in Oklahoma. But several others can be found at sites around the Oklahoma City area, including at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Quail Springs United Methodist Church and Reaves Park in Norman.

Although some labyrinths are used for religious purposes, Diane Rudebock, the university's labyrinth facilitator, said the campus labyrinth is intended to give students a place for reflection and introspection. Businesses sometimes use them as team-building exercises, she said. They often appear in hospices and hospitals to give patients and families a way to deal with stress and anxiety.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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