The infantilizing of American college students is pretty rightly mocked and derided. There are enough videos of protesters weeping and screaming over Halloween costumes or sushi night at the dining halls that one could justifiably come to the conclusion that college kids are soft as hell and all the concessions they are being given and/or are demanding are ludicrous.
Then again, pets are the best.
(Also, it’s worth noting that a college kid crying in the stands after his team loses a football game is every bit the baby Patty the Party Protester is.)
While designating safe spaces and holding support groups every time a vote doesn’t go one specific way might be ridiculous, a pet policy that allows pets in residence halls is actually great. Animals help with stress. Animals help you learn responsibility. Animals help you make friends. Animals are dope.
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And the anxiety kids face in college is absolutely real. Why not have a tiny friend to help alleviate some of it? Allowing pets — dogs specifically — in dorms is nothing short of a sensible, fantastic idea.
According to the Associated Press, more and more colleges are opening up to it.
At Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, where the first pet-friendly housing will open this fall, the new policy grew out of an increasing number of assistance animals, and because of requests to raise service dogs. Now, it’s seen to have a more general value.
“We see this as part of creating a vibrant campus community that is attractive and promotes well-being,” says Associate Dean Allison Bridgeman.Advertisement
But it also seems clear that there will be more pet-friendly campuses as long as students have anything to say about it.
“I answer emails all that time that say, “Hey, I’m trying to start a pet policy on campus, what are the first steps?’” says Brubaker. “I probably get at least one email a week from students at other colleges asking about our program.”
Experts say that while having a pet will not necessarily decrease the amount of stress a college student faces or feels, what the pet does do is change how that stress translates. The presence of a pet stops that stress from manifesting itself into physical anxiety.