Stetson University in DeLand, FL will offer some of its students a pet friendly residence hall to live in beginning with the Fall 2010 semester. Students a the central Florida institution will be allowed to live with their pets in Nemec Hall, the university’s first pet friendly residence hall.
Stetson President Wendy B. Libby and her administrative team believe animal loving students will benefit from being allowed to bring a pet to college. Libby introduced a similar program when she was president of Stephens College in Missouri.
Said Stetson’s Dean of Students, Rina Tovar, “If [students] can bring Fido, or one of the Fidos, the family pet with them to school, it’s going to help with that transition and really help with them feeling comfortable,”
Thirty six of Nemec Hall’s rooms will be pet friendly, and participating students will be allowed one pet each, with dogs limited to under 30 pounds. A dog park is being constructed outside, and a Pet Council will oversee the program and deal with any problems that arise. But it’s not just for dogs. Other pet residents could include cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, and fish.
“For some students, bringing a pet from home enables them to adjust better to the college experience,” said Libby, who is a dog owner. “It helps them form bonds with pets and gives them a distraction from the relentless pressure of a serious academic environment.”
Stetson Director of Housing and Residential Life Justin Williams and a group of students and staff members drafted the policy to make Stetson more pet friendly. Dogs that display aggressive behavior are not allowed. Participating students will pay a registration fee and security deposit, and pets will not be allowed in classroom buildings or university offices.
“Stetson is trying new ways to achieve that ‘home away from home’ feeling,” Williams said.
Sophomore Angelina Suarez, president of the student organization PAWS – Providing Animals With Service and a member of the committee recommending the new policy, thinks having pets on campus will be comforting for all students and will teach the pet owners responsibility and time management. Participants will fill out an application and be required to take proper care of their pets.