Though the campus of the University of Colorado is a hotbed for diversity, sometimes you have to leave the campus to find a place aligned with your beliefs.

For students looking for a place to pray, there are many different options for many different faiths.

Here`s an overview of several Boulder religious institutions away from the CU campus.

Explore your faith

Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center

Where: 1345 Spruce St. (entrance at corner of 14th Street and Spruce Street), Boulder

Phone: 303-444-0190


St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center

Church: 904 14th St., Boulder

Phone: 303-443-8383

Student Center: 1520 Euclid Ave., Boulder

Phone: 720-564-1111


Congregation Har HaShem

Where: 3950 Baseline Road, Boulder

Phone: 303-499-7077


Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center

The Boulder Shambhala Center was established in 1974 by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the same man who also founded Boulder`s Naropa University.

Mixing Buddhist teachings with Shambhala meditation, the center hosts meditation and other activities geared toward learning "how to create an enlightened society," said Roland Cohen, head of outreach for the Boulder Shambhala Center.

Most of the introductory meditation activities offered by the center are available to the public free of charge, such as a free meditation practice period 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as a Sunday open house (10:30 a.m. to noon) that acts as an "introductory gathering" comprising "a short talk and discussion, meditation instruction and refreshments," Cohen said.

Other events for newcomers to the Boulder Shambhala Center have a negotiable price based on how much a participant is able to pay. These include Monday Night Open Classes at 7 p.m., where participants can enjoy a "meditation class, a period of practice and a talk and lecture with discussion," Cohen said.

"The requested donation for the class is $5, or whatever you can afford," he said.

Another special event -- requested donation: $25 -- happens only once a month. From 9 a.m. to noon on the last Saturday of every month, the Boulder Shambhala Center hosts "Beginning to Meditate," an "in-depth meditation practice with a senior teacher that is very thorough," Cohen said.

"These extended classes are for people interested in the further journey of meditation," he said.

The Boulder Shambhala Center is frequented by a wide range of people, Cohen said.

"We have a very diverse group, from the very young to the very old," he said. "We have a lot of students come here."

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center

The Thomas Aquinas Center is divided into two facilities to serve the Catholic community in Boulder: a church and a student center.

The church is a place for "everyone. We celebrate mass, the sacraments, adoration and prayer," said Matt Boettger, president of CU`s Religious Campus Organizations group and the director of Intellectual Formation for the center. The church also has a student-friendly 6 p.m. mass on Sundays, followed by a "Sunday supper served by the parish."

A separate building, the Student Center, acts as a "home away from home" for Catholic students looking for rest and relaxation among likeminded peers, Boettger said.

"It`s a good place to study, or just hang out," he said. "We`ve got a big library and a movie room where students can just veg."

The Student Center is also home to a number of social events, dances and classes designed to bring student parishioners closer to one another, as well as their faith, Boettger said, including weekly Thursday night socials at 8 p.m.

Congregation Har HaShem

Though this Boulder synagogue doesn`t necessarily have a massive population of student worshippers, it is still a popular religious center for attendees hoping to improve their knowledge of Judaism.

"We periodically get students in religious studies classes, or students who are writing papers," said Rabbi Joshua Rose, senior rabbi at Congregation Har HaShem. "We show them around the sanctuary and talk about what we`re all about. Sometimes students call in advance to see if they (can sit and watch a service). They never need to call ahead; they`re always welcome."

Rose said staff members at Har HaShem are also often asked to come to the CU campus to help teach classes in the university`s Religious Studies department. It is through these "positive relations" with Religious Studies, and the university as a whole, that Congregation Har HaShem complements Jewish life at CU, he said.

"I think Jewish life at CU begins with (Jewish student group) Hillel," Rose said. "Jewish students looking to connect on campus go to Hillel."

However, Congregation Har HaShem represents another faith center students could consider.

"Everyone is completely welcome," Rose said. "We love it when students come here."