Ever since I started my college career at Indiana State University, I have always been a bit sad that it is almost impossible for me to have my dog in on-campus dorms.
Now, I realize that adding an animal to the equation involving dorm housing would be chaotic, especially if everyone brought one, but I feel like there should at least be more options.
As it stands, animals, besides fish, can only be brought in as emotional support animals to those who need them. This in itself is a long process. Not only do you have to apply with Residential Life, but you also need to have a doctor verify that your mental health would be severely affected if you did not have that animal there.
While it is understandable that you need someone to confirm that this would be beneficial for your mental health, it is more expensive for the student. Appointments with therapists and doctors are not cheap even if they are only for the doctor to confirm something and write a note.
Along with that, some of the people who might benefit from having an animal with them on campus might not even be able to get such proof.
Not everyone has access to therapy to figure out that they need that kind of support while away at school. This means that some of the people who could be benefiting from it would be unable to experience it.
For myself, I do not feel as if I have bad mental health. That does not mean that I would not benefit from having my dog there with me. Petting a dog and having them be so excited once they see you after a long day is a great way to relieve stress.
It might seem like a big inconvenience for the university, but a large number of students are generally happier whenever they have pets around. Plus, having pets around allows for breaks from the stress of school while also taking care of them responsibly.
I cannot count how many times that I have seen people walking their pets around campus and people go up and ask to pet them. It overall makes people happier.
Plus, in some situations, it could help some students with homesickness. Having a pet there to remind them that they are not alone could be a great way to help those students who have a harder time adjusting to being away from home for longer periods of time.
Making the option to have an animal on campus with a student should be an option that is added with some regulations.
The animals should be trained, otherwise, there would be a lot of incidents. Beyond that, there should be a consideration for people with allergies who are unable to be around some animals.
It would also not be wise to allow two animals to be in the same room depending on the type of animal.
Because of these things the university would have to put more responsibility on the students who chose to bring animals with them to the dorms. There are fire alarms that they have to be aware of, leaving the animal alone for extended periods at a time, finding a way to make sure that flees do not become a problem, and making sure pets can properly use the restroom.
All of this would take some major revisions to the policy on the university’s part. There would have to be new rules and regulations.
A major area of this change would be what would permit students to be able to bring a pet to campus. While I do not think that it should only be those who severely need mental support, I do think that there will be people who might not have anything to gain from it.
That would be up to the university to decide if they ever decided to change the policy.