Coming to a college near you- dogs living in dorm rooms

By on April 17, 2018

Colleges around the U.S. must keep up with potential students and their want lists as they search for the right collegiate fit. Is there a surge in the number of kids wanting to be engineers? Build a new engineering college. More kids want to follow their team to the national basketball tournament? Take your team from Division II to D-I. Whatever it takes, colleges will keep trying to attract the best and brightest.

More prevalent now are colleges that allow students to bring family pets with them to school. Not just as visitors and not just as a sometimes-perk, but as roommates in on-campus dormitories.

The generation of students who are leaving home for the commencement of their collegiate careers retain closer ties to family than any group of students previously. Social media is one reason and proof of this. And what better way to feign the closeness of home while away at school than to have the family pet living with those students?

The latest college to pilot a live-with-your-pet program is Southeast Missouri State University. In addition to the service animals that already live on campus with the students they serve, about 70 pets (yes, just straight-up pets) will be allowed to live with students in specified areas. Surprisingly, pets have been allowed in at least one college (Eckerd) since the 1970s. Another handful have programs similar to the one Southeast Missouri is testing. Colleges require animals (not just cats and dogs) to be quiet, clean, and approved by roommates. They also have restrictions relating to bathroom and laundry use in order to be sensitive to other students’ privacy and allergy needs.

A recent Washington Post article says that “Even students who have no intention of keeping a pet of their own cite the school’s pro-pet posture as a draw… It is, for them, a sign of the kind of welcoming community” these colleges aim to be.

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