Housing and Residence Life to initiate animal-friendly policy for 2023-2024 academic year

Housing+and+Residence+Life+plans+to+initiate+an+animal-friendly+policy+for+the+2023-2024+academic+year.+%28Graphic+by+Maliah+White%29

Graphic by Maliah White

Housing and Residence Life plans to initiate an animal-friendly policy for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Ian Young, Staff Writer

Housing and Residence Life is drafting a proposal for a pet-friendly policy for residence halls and student apartments in the 2023-24 academic school year. Housing and Residence Life emailed a survey to all students Oct. 26 about a possible animal-friendly policy to all students living on campus.

“We are hoping this provides an option for students who want to bring a pet with them at USI,” said Amy Price, director of Housing and Residence Life. “We are just beginning our draft, so all the guidelines are still being considered.”

Price said she hopes to have more information about the program after Thanksgiving Break.

The survey said the policy would allow cats, dogs under 50 pounds, fish with tanks no larger than 20 gallons and small caged animals including rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, guinea pigs, rats, mice and hedgehogs in student apartments and dorms.

“As long as everyone is okay with having an animal around, I don’t really mind,” said Danna Chu, freshman undecided major. “Personally, I wouldn’t bring my pets to campus, but I know others who would want to have their animals on campus.”

The animal policy would only apply to on-campus housing.

“Eagle Village has no weight limit or breed restrictions,” said Sarah Obermeier, senior dietetics major. “Eagle Village has its own separate animal policies, so you can apply for other animals as well as service animals.”

Obermeier said her service cat is registered under her lease. She said residents who live off campus will need to pay a down payment to apply to keep an animal. 

“I think it’s a great idea to have some animal-friendly housing on campus as long as the animals are well-behaved and have all the necessary vet care,” said Sarah Stevens, director of Honors Program and Living Learning Communities.”

Stevens is involved in a part of USI Campus Cats, an organization that cares for the community cats on campus. 

Stevens said pets are great for “stress relief and mental health” and are a commitment for the life of the pet. 

“Students should be very certain they want a pet before they adopt or bring one to campus,” she said.

Stevens said, “As long as students are responsible pet owners, care for their cats and bring them home for the summer, then I think it’s great to have animal-friendly options.”

“I have two dogs at home, and I find myself wanting to hang out with them,” said Conor Greaney, freshman environmental science major. “I think it is a very good idea for an animal friendly policy.”