Pets on campus would be a paws-itive change

Chloe Baxter

Many students had pets growing up and would turn to them in times of stress for comfort and companionship. However, as they transition to life on campus, pets are not allowed. This takes away a method of coping when overwhelmed or stressed. As an institution, Augustana prohibits ownership of pets outside of service animals, emotional support animals, or small, non-flesh-eating fish.

However, many colleges and universities across the country are allowing students to bring their pets with them to campus. This trend has sparked a heated debate, with some arguing that pets on campus can create distractions, damage residence halls or act as safety hazards. 

On one hand, there are valid concerns about the impact of pets on campus. Some worry that they may cause damage to campus residence halls or create safety hazards through biting or scratching other students. Pets can also be a distraction or a health concern for some students, especially those who suffer from allergies or phobias.

However, Augustana could provide designated housing or charge fees to accommodate these concerns and allow students access to the support system a pet provides. In the housing selection process, the campus could provide the option of a pet-friendly residence. Augustana could also charge students with pets a small fee or refundable deposit to combat damage to residences.

Taking these steps to allow pets on campus is necessary because there are many benefits to having pets on college campuses. For one, pets can provide emotional support and help reduce student stress and anxiety. Augustana has implemented this around exam week where students can spend time with dogs in the library, which is similar to pet programs at other colleges and institutions.

Pets on campus can create a sense of community among students. They can serve as a conversation starter and a way for students to connect. If designated residences were implemented, this community might help students feel more welcome on campus. 

Allowing pets on campus can have practical benefits, providing a sense of security and protection for students on campus. Pets can also help students develop a sense of responsibility and learn essential life skills, like time management, budgeting and caring for another living being. The college aims to educate students on their careers or interests and provide them with valuable life skills as they become more independent, which would be beneficial. 

Deciding to allow pets on college campuses is complex and requires careful consideration of potential risks and benefits. While there are valid concerns about the impact of pets on campus the benefits cannot be ignored. If designated housing and fees were implemented, this could be a step in the right direction for students and their pets.