College officials have realized that modern students have stronger ties to home (partially due to social media), and having pet-friendly campuses and dorms will allow for a better learning environment for students. Although other schools are jumping on the bandwagon, other schools, like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has allowed cats in some dorms for 18 years. Women’s school Stephens College “treats pets like royalty”. The University of Northern Colorado, Pfeiffer University, and Eckerd College in Florida are other pet-friendly campuses. A Liberal Arts College in St. Petersburg, Eckerd, has allowed pets in dorms since the 72-73 school year! Today, they have about 1,900 students, and 229 registered pets. 132 of those pets are dogs and cats, but they allow exotic species such as spiders, ferrets, snakes, bearded dragons, hedgehogs, rabbits, and others! Twice a year, a veterinarian comes to perform general check-ups for the pets. How progressive is that?
As this Washington Post article highlights, Southeast Missouri State University, recently announced they will be opening pet-friendly areas in a residence hall, where students will be able to bring cats, “small caged animals”, and small dogs. Space will be made for approximately 70 pets in one of Missouri State’s dorms. (These will be separate from the 25 service animals that by law the school is required to accomodate for students with disabilities located in other various dorms.) The school’s Vice President for student success and enrollment, Debbie Below, is hoping that the new pet-friendly policy will attract more students to the University, located not far from the banks of the Mississippi River.
Although this will be a pilot program, and some changes are expected to be made as the year progresses, some of the basic rules for Missouri State’s program include: all pets must be house-broken, get a sign-off of approval from the student’s roommate, and must be well-behaved. They will not be allowed in dorm bathrooms, and to prevent issues for students with allergies, communal laundry facilities cannot be used to wash pet bedding and toys. Here’s to the success of Missouri State’s pilot pet program!