When you leave for college, you want your new roommate to be someone loyal who understands you and is always happy to see you when you come home from class. As far as humans are concerned, that kind of roomie is hard to come by. That’s why Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania is introducing pet-friendly dorms. Starting in spring 2019, North Residence Hall will allow school-approved pets to come live with students.
Emmy Borst, resident director for Lock Haven University, said in a statement, “Studies show that students who feel at home on campus are the students that thrive both socially and academically.” The university believes that allowing students to bring their pet to school is an optimal way of making them feel comfortable. Approved pets include dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and fish. Pets must be at least six months old, weigh under 40 lbs, kept on a leash when outside the dorm, and have been owned by the student for a minimum of three months. To be granted permission, students must submit an application with a photo of their pet, current vaccination records, and spay and neuter records.
In addition to making students feel more at home in a new college environment, pets are also expected to facilitate socialization between students and encourage outdoor activity. “Introducing a pet-friendly residence hall is about increasing opportunities for our students,” said LHU President Robert Pignatello. “The Haven is a great place to live and learn — and allowing students to bring a beloved pet to campus will only enhance their residential experience.”
While Lock Haven is the first university within the Pennsylvania state college system to allow pets, it’s not the first nationwide. There are actually 40 pet-friendly universities across the country, though all universities are required to allow service and support animals in dorms.