Places of peace offer comfort, beauty at Princeton

Life at Princeton University can be busy, but in the midst of campus are places of peace that can bring comfort and calm.  

In these three videos, students and staff take us to their personal places of peace. They share what they do, see, hear and feel in the spaces.

For graduate student Margarita Rosario, the Muslim Prayer Room is where she pauses from her studies, reflects on her day and gazes outside to appreciate the gothic architecture on campus. For staff member Gwen McNamara, a wooded trail along Washington Road takes her away from the office and back to childhood playing at her grandfather’s farm. And for Christopher Shin, who graduated in June, the soaring ceilings and stained-glass windows inside the University Chapel evoke in him awe, wonder and gratitude.  

The videos show that places of peace can be inside or outdoors, large or small, religious or not. Whatever the space, a place of peace is where we can step away from our daily tasks to refresh our minds, revive our bodies and renew our spirits.

Margarita Rosario


“Everyone needs a space where they can feel loved and protected,” Rosario said about the Muslim Prayer Room on the third floor of Murray-Dodge Hall. The Ph.D. candidate in comparative literature says she feels safe, loved and secure when she visits the small, sunlit room for daily prayers. The room also is where she quietly contemplates and connects with the world around her. 

Gwen McNamara


A shady, tree-lined path that runs under Streicker Bridge is a short walk from McNamara’s office in Frist Campus Center. The communications coordinator for the Pace Center for Civic Engagement happened on the trail one day. She now returns there often to smell the wildflowers, listen to the birds chatting “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” and to disconnect for a few minutes. McNamara’s essay “Trail Walk” about her wooded wanderings was recognized with an honorable mention prize by Princeton Writes.

Christopher Shin


Shin first stepped inside the University Chapel at Opening Exercises, the annual welcome ceremony for first-year students. This past June, his undergraduate career concluded inside the Chapel at the Baccalaureate ceremony during graduation. In between those two milestones, Shin spent many days inside the magnificent structure. He sang with the Chapel Choir and often sat in the pews by himself, meditating and appreciating the grandeur and beauty of the ceremonial center of the University.