Students are allowed to live with pets on the Ferris State University campus

Ferris State University
Imagine moving away to college and not having to leave your beloved pet behind. Well, at Ferris State University in Michigan, this dream is becoming a reality. In a bid to tackle the common issues of student anxiety and homesickness, Ferris State is embarking on an exciting pilot program, offering a pet-friendly residence hall floor in one of its 14 dorms nestled on the picturesque Big Rapids campus.

This groundbreaking initiative is a direct response to the heartfelt requests of Ferris State University students. Lisa Ortiz, the university’s Director of Housing and Residence Life, explained, “Students have been very vocal in letting us know they would like to bring their pets to campus if there was an environment that would welcome them.”

The program, debuting in the 2023-24 academic year, has already struck a chord with students, as it’s fully subscribed, with one pet allowed per student.

Intriguingly, there isn’t much precedent for such a move in the university landscape. As Ortiz candidly states, “To be quite frank, there was not much benchmarking to do because a lot of universities are not making the decision to do this at this point.”

Cramer Hall’s second floor was selected for this venture, accommodating up to 30 dogs, cats, and other pets. What makes it special? It boasts a carpet-free environment, featuring luxury vinyl tiles that make cleanup a breeze – a key consideration in a pet-friendly space where accidents can happen.

But there are some guidelines in place. Students are required to pay a $250 fee to live with their pet and must have had a meaningful relationship with the animal for at least six months prior to the start of the semester. Proof of necessary vaccinations, spaying or neutering, is also mandatory. Additionally, students are expected to handle pet-related incidents themselves as part of the agreement.

Furthermore, there are rules to ensure a harmonious coexistence. Students must adhere to local leash laws and maintain control of their pets when outside the residence hall. While dogs and cats are expected to be the primary residents, Ortiz revealed, “Right now, we’re not limiting any pets… I’ve had conversations with students about whether or not a snake, lizard, or bunny would be allowed, and they are at this point.”

The driving force behind this innovative program is the desire to alleviate homesickness among students. Research from a 2021 Tarleton State University study suggests that owning pets can reduce students’ cholesterol and blood pressure while decreasing anxiety, loneliness, and stress. It also promotes higher fitness levels.

Lisa Ortiz passionately stated, “This is an opportunity that, if it is the right environment for their pets, can help students leave that level of homesickness or depression or anxiety because they know their animal is waiting for them when they go back after class.”

Noelle Humphrey, a Ferris State University student and senior staff adviser at Cramer Hall, believes that having pets around will motivate students to start their day with purpose. She remarked, “They have someone relying on them that holds them accountable for not only their well-being but a lovely furry friend’s well-being, which will encourage them to wake up, go to class, socialize, get their dog or cat out of their small space.”

The program’s success will be carefully monitored through student feedback and assessments of the building’s condition. Ortiz explained, “We’ll be reviewing the state of the building, what was successful in terms of the animals being kept there, and other issues that may be concerning that we need to work through.”

If all goes well, Ferris State University is considering expanding the program to include a dog park and additional pet-friendly amenities in the future. The possibilities for a more pet-inclusive campus are boundless.

Also Read: Donald Trump’s Controversial Mug Shot Unveiled Following Arrest on Election Charges in Georgia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *