BATESVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - In the upcoming 2018-19 school year, Lyon College will introduce pet-friendly housing to its campus.
Through this new initiative, Lyon joins just a small handful of colleges in the country that allow cats and dogs in on-campus housing. Recently, several changes have been made to the College's programming to create a more inclusive, holistic approach to campus life.
According to President W. Joseph King, “We will be the only pet-friendly college from Texas to Virginia. It is exciting to move Lyon in a more pet-friendly direction. Like many of our students, my family has had beloved dogs and cats. We know how much they are a part of your life. Therefore, this change seemed like a progressive step for student life at the college. Initial reaction from current and prospective students has been very positive.”
“Lyon is always looking for innovative ways to create a better residential community,” says Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Patrick Mulick. “This specific living community came about through listening to our students and closely examining the empirical literature on the benefits of pets. Both suggest that the students in the pet-friendly residence hall will cope better with stress and be more productive than if they did not have their pets living with them.”
One of Lyon's residence halls will be designated as pet-friendly, opening up spots for 20 students to bring their four-legged companions to live with them at school. The college will consider opening up more residence halls to pets as demand grows.
To accommodate its new furry occupants, Lyon will offer pet obedience courses throughout the school year. The College will also offer a pet blessing each October, when College Chaplain Maggie Alsup will help students celebrate God's love, care, and concern for all creation. This celebration usually takes place on the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. Alsup says, “It is a time to recognize our mutual interdependence with God's creatures and to give thanks for the relationships we have with them.”
The College will welcome pets to areas all over campus. The College's new coffee shop and study area, The Salty Dog, will have treats for both pets and students. A fenced-in dog park is being added on campus to give dogs leash-free time outside.
“Students expect more today,” said Eric Bork, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “For many students, their pet is their closest companion. If they want to share their college experience with their best friend, of course, we want to help make that possible.”