Students can ditch the sad goodbyes to their pets as Southeast Missouri State University welcomes family pets and their student owners back to campus for the second year.
A mix of dogs, cats and small caged animals will be joining campus life again this fall semester along with their incoming student owners.
“We are very excited to welcome students and their pets to the community this fall,” said Dr. Kendra Skinner, director of Residence Life. “Many of us at Residence Life and across the University are pet owners ourselves and we know what it means to be able to have your furry, fuzzy or scaly friend living with you. If having their pet enhances their on-campus living experience, we are all for it.”
This is the second year for a pet friendly community at Southeast following a pilot year in 2018-2019.
“We wanted to extend the pilot an additional year to evaluate the community and gauge response from students,” said Dr. Kendra Skinner, director of Residence Life. “We believe the potential is out there for the community to continue to grow!”
Those who chose to live in the pet friendly community will be housed on the north wings of the first and second floors of Myers Hall. The pet friendly community is separate from policies allowing emotional support and service animals, which the University has accommodated for years in residence halls across the campus. Permitted pets in the pet-friendly community will be indoor domestic cats and dogs under a certain weight and small caged animals that live in a small aquarium.
“Students appreciate being able to bring their best friend or a little piece of home with them to campus,” Skinner said.
This year, several incoming freshmen will experience the pet friendly community for the first time. As a dog owner, Lynda Bertrand, a freshman art education major from Atoka, Tennessee, said bringing her dog “Obie,” a miniature Australian Shepherd, to campus allows the pair to continue to care for each other.
“I’m looking forward to having my pet at my side through the transition away from my small town and seeing him and other pets meet and interact,” Bertrand said.
She has a deep connection to Obie, and they support one another whenever they are sad or scared, Bertrand added.
The University considered a pet friendly community for some time prior to its launch in fall 2018 in response to requests the Office of Admissions regularly receives from prospective students and to enhance the on-campus living experience for some students. The pet friendly community has allowed students to reduce anxiety, ease stress, increase exercise, and socialize with other pet lovers while out for walks, Skinner said. The pet friendly community is allowing the University to diversify its housing options to complement student interests.
“Going away to college is tough on students and their pets. Our pet-friendly community allows students to maintain that connection while they are here at Southeast,” Skinner said. “There’s nothing like walking into your room after a tough class and having someone so excited to see you. It definitely helps to brighten your day,” she said.
For more information on the pet friendly community at Southeast, please contact the Office of Residence Life at (573) 651-2274.