Spirituality at UCI

Although it is said
that the college years are the best of one’s life, today’s average
undergraduate balances an array of social responsibilities and academic
pressures that lead to stress.

For fourth-year
biological sciences major Rajiv Ramdeo, the president and founder of the
Association for Undergraduate Meditators, spirituality is a guide to finding
inner peace.

Ramdeo’s concept is
simple but refreshing. He believes that all humans seek happiness and that
meditation can lead to a better self-perspective, making interacting with the
rest of the world a little easier.

Ramdeo’s belief in
spirituality and meditation won him this year’s XIV Dalai Lama Endowed
Scholarship. The scholarship awards winners a total of $10,000 to split between
tuition fees and humanitarian projects.

AUM began last year as
a club that welcomed all students who were interested in open spiritual
meditation. While UC Irvine already had various religious clubs, AUM’s focus on
the science and philosophy of meditation makes it unique.

‘We want everyone to
try meditation,’ says the club’s Web site, ‘It’s their choice to continue or
not, but people should at least be educated about it and try it before they
judge it.’ With this attitude in mind, AUM began developing among students.

With the money from the
scholarship, Ramdeo plans to spread AUM’s ideas by inviting guest speakers and
promoting spiritual awareness on campus.

Winning the scholarship
didn’t just provide additional funding for AUM, though. It also gave Ramdeo the
honor of meeting his holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.

Last Tuesday, Ramdeo
and fourth-year biomedical engineering major Aswathi Sreedharan, the two
winning scholars from a pool of 60 applicants, joined Chancellor Michael Drake
and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel G