In spring 2019, Lock Haven University will be the first in the Pennsylvania’s State System to introduce a pet-friendly residence hall on campus.
When Lock Haven University welcomes students back to campus in spring 2019, some may have their four-legged companions in tow. The university will be the first in the Pennsylvania’s State System to introduce a pet-friendly residence hall.
LHU North Hall Residence Hall Director, Emmy Borst, has fronted the university’s initiative to allow students to bring pets to the campus. “Students who are comfortable where they live have greater success and pets are a great source of comfort to many students,” she said.
The move follows a trend in higher education that sees campuses offering students a true home-like living environment. “Studies show that students who feel at home on campus are the students that thrive both socially and academically,” Borst said. Bringing a pet to campus is one way LHU hopes to enhance the student experience and attract students with an affinity for animals to enroll.
LHU’s pilot program will allow students to bring their long-term pet, defined by LHU to have been under the primary care of the resident or their family for at least three months, to reside in their North Hall room. Pets must be at least 6 months of age. The university has implemented a policy with strict guidelines concerning the species, breeds and sizes of animals permitted. The policy defines allowable pets as cats, dogs under 40 pounds with breed restrictions, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and fish.
Students must submit an application for approval and registration to reside with a pet prior to bringing an animal to campus. As part of the application, the university will require photos of the animal and current vaccination records and a certificate of spay or neuter for cats and dogs.
Animals will not be permitted in campus buildings other than North Hall. While on campus, all dogs and cats must be kept on a leash and must wear current identification and rabies tags.
Borst notes that many LHU students currently residing in off-campus housing own animals. This opportunity will allow students who opt-in to the program to enjoy the benefits of on-campus housing and pet ownership. The residence hall will offer numerous programs for students centered on their shared interest in animals.
Trained residence life staff will oversee the program and will offer support to student pet-owners while also closely evaluating the program and its policies. North Hall has the capacity to house approximately 200 students. The 90 students currently residing in North will have the option to remain there, or move to other on-campus housing once the program kicks off in January.
The pet-friendly residence hall differs from current policies which, under Pennsylvania housing laws, allow approved students to bring emotional support animals to campus. Current LHU students with emotional support animals will have the option to move to North Hall.
Owning pets is an important part of life for many students. Providing them the opportunity to continue their pet ownership while living on campus will, for many students, make their college experience more enjoyable and more successful.
Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Tyana Lange, views this as a positive step in offering students a full on campus residential experience. “It is about providing opportunities and options for our students,” Lange said. “We want all students to be engaged and happy with their Haven experience. Allowing students to bring their pets helps them feel more at home and hopefully help them transition successfully to college life.”
LHU President, Robert Pignatello, is excited about plans to launch the program. “Introducing a pet-friendly residence hall is about increasing opportunities for our students. 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. We look forward to welcoming students and their animal companions to campus in January,” he said.
For more information about LHU’s pet-friendly residence hall, contact Borst at 570-484-2249 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lock Haven University is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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