Photo by Katie Lee for The Retriever
In such a high achieving environment, it is difficult to keep up with the fast pace of university classes. Rising stress levels throughout the semester are evident, especially around exam times and finals. Even with the various stress busters the university offers, students often feel like they are unable to manage stress.
However, UMBC surprisingly has not paid much attention to the perfect solution for halting rising stress levels: puppies!
As an honors university, UMBC prides on its ability to produce high achieving students. But without stress relief, all these high achieving students would crash and burn. A fun, stress relieving activity UMBC can host for students is a puppy day, where puppies are brought to campus during finals week for students to play with. This type of activity would boost students’ mood and allow them to relax before their grueling exams, while also allowing the puppies to get some TLC.
Many universities have this type of activity in place already, such as the University of Maryland, College Park. Every semester, UMD has a day where students can pet puppies in order to de-stress from finals. This event has been a favorite of UMD’s students, even going so far as to spark an outrage when it was canceled one semester back in 2013.
The University of Connecticut is another example of a university indulging in puppy therapy. In addition to having a free relaxation station open to students year round, they also host therapy dogs every other week from 2-5 p.m.
There are many studies conducted that have shown that interacting with pets can alleviate anxiety, depression and stress levels in humans. This could be a real benefit to university students, as college classes often involve numerous stressful deadlines and exams.
Plenty of students support having puppies on campus, especially since UMBC’s mascot is a dog. Adrienne Alignay, a freshman information systems major, gets really excited at the idea of puppies on campus. “I love dogs and everyone loves puppies,” she said. “I think it’d be really helpful to have them on campus when preparing for exams. They can give us a little bit more ease when we take our tests.”
The therapy dogs could visit the campus a few times per semester, during midterms, finals, and other stressful times of the year. UMBC could partner with nonprofit organizations, such as Therapy Pets Unlimited or Fidos for Freedom. Fidos for Freedom even has an established program where therapy dogs come and visit to “provide emotional and physical benefits to many people in the community.”
Having this sort of an event on campus would allow students and staff to pay more attention to their own mental health. People would be able to deal with their anxiety and stress in a healthy way, while also providing attention to dogs. It would be a mutually beneficial situation that a lot of students would enjoy.
With the UMBC’s mascot being a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, it is odd that there are not many events involving dogs on campus. A puppy day would allow UMBC Retrievers to spend some quality time with actual, furry retrievers before going on to battle the monsters we call exams.