By Donna Krache, CNN
(CNN) For students at the University of New Hampshire, dogs, home-baked cookies and even an organized scream may be part of the college finals experience.
To help reduce exam stress, the university brings dogs into its Dimond Library to interact with the students. The dogs are from ElderPet, a volunteer service organization that began as an Applied Animal Science project at UNH in 1982. The group helps to promote the human/animal bond through animal therapy and assistance for senior and disabled members of the community.
Having dogs available for students is part of the university’s “Frenzy-Free Finals" this week. The dogs are not allowed in some areas of the library like the Special Collections section, but they will find a spot to sit and students will go and sit next to them. Assistant dean for library administration Tracey Lauder says that last year, students were coming up to the desk and asking ‘Are the dogs here yet?’ She says that the dogs are great with the students and provide a study break for them, a chance to ‘let go’ and forget about the pressures of exams for a few minutes.
The library also hosts a cookie break on reading day; asking faculty, staff and parents to supply home-baked cookies for studying students. There’s also a “Primal Scream” in the library’s grand foyer, when students walk away from books and notes for a few minutes and let out an extended, resounding community yell. You can see video from previous screams here. It’s loud, but according to those who have participated in the past, a pretty good way to release stress.
And that’s not all – chair massages, yoga and meditation are all available at the university’s library during finals.
Lauder sees the stress-relief measures as important factors in the focus on student achievement. “The library strives to provide the resources students need for academic success – whether it be a book, video camera, digitized media or a gluten-free cookie and cuddle with a dog,” she says.