Last semester Student Affairs launched Wednesday Wags to provide students with a fun stress-relief event and help promote Student Affairs services and departments. Each week one Student Affairs department hosts one or more dogs while sharing information and giveaways about their area. Hundreds of students stopped by for cuddles last fall. The program resumed after the winter weather thawed in March to the "a-paws" of many cute dogs and students alike.
A 2019 study found that college students who spent even just 10 minutes petting a dog or cat saw significantly decreased cortisol levels, which are known to indicate stress. A more recent study published in the journal AERA Open found that dogs provide students with stress relief benefits that can last up to six weeks. Compared to traditional stress management methods, students with high-stress levels could think and plan more clearly after spending time with a therapy dog.
Executive Director of Student Affairs Communications Allison Reid launched the program that has welcomed more than a dozen dogs.
"With the launch of the Heels Care Network, we are seeking both traditional and non-traditional ways to meet the needs of our students," said Reid. "Final exam study breaks usually include therapy animals for students, but we know stress is not limited to those times and thought this weekly program was a wonderful addition to the academic week."
Wednesday Wags will continue through final exams and resume in the fall semester.