THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University is welcoming 4-legged friends to campus this fall with the state’s first pet-friendly residence hall.
The Pet-Friendly Living Learning Community joins a growing community of LLCs on the Nicholls campus. LLCs are residential communities housing students with shared academic, cultural or organizational interests. In this case, pets.
Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Michele Caruso said research shows that many pet- owners believe that their pets have helped them get through difficult times in their lives, and were less likely to feel lonely or depressed.
“Research clearly shows that many students can benefit both psychologically and socially from living with an animal companion,” Dr. Caruso said. “We wanted to create this community as a way to both enhance the quality of life for our students and also challenge them to grow in personal and social accountability.”
Dr. Caruso said her team had been discussing this initiative but expedited the idea following Hurricane Ida when displaced students and families needed to bring their furry family members with them. In the days after the storm, the university housed 14 dogs and nine cats with their displaced owners.
The LLC will be located in North Babington Hall and the university will create a dog park to allow for a space for the furrier residents to get exercise and socialize.
Director of Residential Living Alex Coad said that only cats and dogs will be allowed at first, but that the university will continue to evaluate the option to add other pets in the future.
“This program will focus on promoting a pet-friendly environment and provide opportunities for students to learn about the basics of caring for an animal such as obedience training, socialization and appropriate health habits,” Coad said. “We hope that the students living in this environment thrive with the chance to come to school with their 4-legged companions.”
The university will continue to allow for emotional support animals through a separate waiver process.
Only returning sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible at this time, and rooms will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. Eligible students will have the option to request a pet-friendly room in North Babington Hall during the room selection process that is happening now. Each pet owner will need to provide vet and vaccination records.