Why this university now gives students a chance to bring pets to campus

'Pets can help students make friends by acting as an icebreaker,' Shenandoah University's new animal policy says
By: | August 27, 2021
Students (pets not pictured) move into residence halls at Shenandoah University.Students (pets not pictured) move into residence halls at Shenandoah University.

The pets cannot be non-native or exotic, but they can now live with students in two Shenandoah University residence halls.

Students are only permitted one pet, and each designated room in South Campus Commons and Edwards Residential Village can only have one pet in it.

“Shenandoah recognizes that pets can play a valuable role in helping students transition to residential campus life,” the Virginia university’s policy says. “For example, pets can help students make friends by acting as an icebreaker. Pets may also be good exercise partners or companions to alleviate homesickness.”

Students must pay a $250 registration fee before bringing the pet to campus.

Pets can be:

  • Large: Dogs (weighing 40 pounds or less), cats, rabbits, birds (measuring 16-32 inches), and chinchillas.
  • Or small: Fish, birds (measuring less than 16 inches), rats, hedgehogs, hamsters, sugar gliders, gerbils, guinea pigs, amphibians, and small reptiles.

Pets cannot be non-native or exotic and if an animal misbehaves, the Residence Life may take action. As a general rule, if a pet misbehaves three times or acts aggressively, the student could be prohibited from bringing the pet to campus again.


Related: Could dog therapy be key to help failing students?


The student will also be responsible for any expenses and cleaning resulting from the pet’s behavior.

Approximately 1,100 residential students are moving Shenandoah’s residence halls this week, representing one of the university’s largest-ever incoming classes.

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