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.
Student Taylor Frarie takes a break with a study buddy.
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.
that drive you into drinking habits and ranting online about how students are "coddled" by a volunteer group.
Some people really need to lighten up and go pet some dogs and eat some cookies themselves. I'm a chemistry major at the University of Pittsburgh; I am paying my way through school with no help from my family, and I work an incredibly stressful part time job at the county jail to make ends meet. I'm glad I have my own dog to pet and spend time with when I'm stressed; What's wrong with students who live in campus housing (who can't own pets) taking advantage of FREE stress relief and enjoying some time with a dog? If you think petting an animal and eating a cookie is coddling I'd hate to be you; what do you do to relax? And shouldn't we all be happy that the school is encouraging this? It's nice to provide a bit of wholesome stress relief
Agreed! Good Luck! Pitts chem program is pretty rough! and the jail cant be easy either.
what a super idea.. Congratulations to NHU for being innovative in their novel approach to aiding student success.
I go to UNH, and although I didn't participate in these activities, I have a lot of friends who said it was great to take five minutes to sit and pet a dog as a way to take their minds off their exams for a little bit. A lot of kids who are from out of state and don't get to go home a lot rarely have time to interact with their pets, missing them terribly for most of the semester. So why does it matter to anyone that the school pays a slight fee to have dogs brought on campus for one day out of the semester? This really does not strike me as a form of coddling..just providing a comfort that many people have at home. College isn't just a place to learn, it's where people live for four years. It's a temporary home. So yeah, we understand that dogs won't be at the office when we're stressed out, but they will be waiting for us at home at the end of the day. There must be some extremely scrooge-like people out there if they really have to go around slamming great ideas like this one. Merry Christmas folks.
Clarification – Pet Therapy is a volunteer organization – no university funds were spent to bring the dogs to the Library. Sincere thanks to Elder Pet for their generosity and kindness.
Brings back memories of when our son took our dog to college for finals weekend. He and his roomates lived off campus. Our dog was a nonstop retriever. It was the best of times...or so I am told.
Don't be ashamed of your arrogance, embrace it, you can't help that the root of your bitterness is having to wake up everyday knowing that you overpaid for an undergrad education, which is like overpaying for a high school education these days. And just a quick question, when people ask you if you graduated from college, do you say "yea I went to an Ivy League one" and just leave it at that? People need to know when they simply don't belong. And to the rest who think colleges coddle their students too much, what schools are you looking at? A liberal arts school with 2500 students on the East Coast, maybe, but a major state university like Texas, Texas A&M, OSU, or Michigan don't have time to coddle 50k + students. Moreover, maybe these overly stressed underproductive kids are stressed because a college degree doesn't get you what it use to, maybe they are stressed because law schools, medical schools, and other graduate school application pools are burgeoning at unprecedented rates. It was a dog, get over it, every generation has its generous share of dead weight, older generations just didn't have 24 hour media coverage to constantly remind their selves of the different peoples and personalities that this country is comprised of.
Way too much time on your hands...
Sure, OK, impressive but if you want to talk very impressive, what about the dogs taking the exams for us?
They bring dogs to the library at University of Connecticut as well. What a great idea!
These students, when they enter the workplace, will not be able to bring their dog, teddy bear, or snuggy.
Exactly. This kind of coddling isn't preparing them for the real "dog eat dog" world of the workplace.
That's not necessarily true. There are work places that allow people to bring in their pets and I don't know about stuffed animals, but there are quite a few places where I worked where nerf guns were permitted.
You are so wrong. At my wifes work during time of extra production calls and testing they bring in outside sources for massages daily they run contest for highest producer/testers and they are catered with breakfast and lunch. Their lunches include drinks and i don't mean soda and water. They have a casual dress and low stress enviroment and are the top supplier in their industry because of how they treat their employees. You may want to investigate, alot of professional business are going this route. I was jealous when she got the job.They also got paid to play Wii Bowling.
I totally agree Brian. I am a non-traditional student at UNH, and I've had plenty of years out in the workforce. This time of year was filled with the fun of decorating the office, planning the Christmas party, and then attending the Christmas party at every single job I ever had. How is this any different? Furthermore plenty of the places I've worked have had all kinds of incentives to reduce stress and thus improve our performance.
It's about time the dogs gave back. Look how long they've been eating our homework!
So true. If only the dogs could accidentally eat the exams for old times' sake.
Cute. I like it.
Funniest post I've read in a long time. Still smiling.
The University of Wisconsin does this as well, and it's a great way to de-stress a bit. Volunteers from UW Health who have dogs bring them out for students to pet/play with and it's great for everyone. Stopping to pet a tail-wagging dog for 30 seconds can really put a smile on your face, not to mention help to lower blood pressure and stress levels. Hooray for puppies!
Wow, wish I had this back in my day. I went to a Catholic College, the only thing we were allowed to do to relieve exam stress was pray.
For those of you who are saying these students are coddled: you too could de-stress with dogs, cookies, and massages–you choose not to, apparently.
OF COURSE real life is stressful! Most people in "real life" need to learn how to use de-stressing techniques to be happier people. I'm glad these students are learning these techniques now so that when they get into the "real world," they will know how to deal with the stress.
Have fun with those dogs....
Some people deal with stress by doing yoga and petting puppies. Others deal with stress by posting negative comments on stories about people dealing with stress by doing yoga and petting puppies.
And still others relieve stress by pointing out apparent contradictions in human nature.... : )
ohh clay, so true
Love your post – sooooo true!
Witty and true.
Wish we had this when I was in college. It sets a pattern for positive stress relief.
Oh I forgot to say; we paid for our little stress relievers out of our own pockets. No state tax or tuition dollars will pilfered.
Maybe one day your child will be sitting in our library studying for a big exam.
"Oh no, William and Mary won't do." Steely Dan (Oh yes it will!)
I really don't understand why everyone has to be so negative. As a UNH student i think its great to have some stress relief on campus. All the "maybe your not cut out for college" comments are 100% unnecessary. We're taking finals on subjets that determine if we get into grad school or find a good job, its stressful! Yes, the rest if life is stressful but people find relief in their everyday life as well. The negative comments are infuriating when all we're trying to do is better ourselves by going to school.
That's what people do, Katie. They're perfect in every way so they don't understand why anyone else isn't completely perfect as well. Go pet those doggies and eat those cookies and the negative people can go something themselves! And good luck in finals :)
Katie, Haters will Hate. Anything that doesn't easily jibe with their narrow (and largely ignorant) ideological view is open season for derision.
@artifex: what a precious & cute perspective. I'll bet you're an arts major. And it's also sweetly obvious that you're under 25, as that generation loves to scream "hater!" whenever anyone disagrees with their viewpoint. Ages 4-12 yell "It's not fair!!" and ages 17-25 yell "Hater!" while 25+ typically says either "I disagree and here's my perspective" or "live and let live".
Katie, People are just negative because their lives suck and dogs don't like them!! I think it's awesome I wished we had it at my school in Western MA.
I think it's a wonderful idea, don't let the negative vibes bring you down! Looks like many see the value of the de-stress program.
As for the people saying this does not exist in the workplace, I do not believe that is correct. Many enlightened employers are allowing their workers to bring their own dogs. Look up some of the perks that Google gives. Cookies are the least of it. Not all employers take Scrooge as their model. And, as one might expect, those who treat their workers better get better results.
Even if your job doesn't provide these benefits, when you are on your own you can take these techniques and apply them. You can have a pet, bake (or buy) cookies, and get a massage. You can go to your car and scream your head off.
In fact I use Alphasonics with Citibank, commonly to yell out a nice nuclear diplomatic consular scream against all odds at consular invoices whereby my revenue stream has never matriculated. It an old therapy channel to squall someone to deaf and voice fm them to insanity in an industry where bankruptcy is not an optiona dn therapy ranks hig, but tax certificate result are low and is catalog marketing. Its almost like my marine carrier has taken daedulus control of me like Kenny and south park risking loss of total control of their primate primal use of Fed Invest as a contractor to sell the river running dry of my American Dream!
Hey, old people who are complaining about "coddling" these kids: Our generation would like to thank yours for completely ruining our economy! Just because you did things the hard way, does not make it the smart way.
So, Tim, how many more of 'your' generation are as naive as you? You couldn't have made it through this short life of your's without knowing that a small group of people (congress) took care of trashing the economy, social security, etc. could you? Maybe you should spend more time in the library.
And what generation do you think is in Congress, smart guy? Go to a library and check their ages. I bet you'll be shocked at what you'll discover.
How could you have made it through your "long" life without realizing that you elected those congressmen. They weren't appointed, you voted for them.
May I please have some cheese with that whine? Us old folks did it the hard way because it was the only way. Unless you and all that agree with you are under the age of 22, you most likely had an equal hand in electing the idiots the occupy Washington.
GREAT idea! I lLOVE this university for trying something so simple, effective and different to help reduce stress.
Much older here.
Are you always so rough on people? Would you feel that way if your son or daughter was in college? You must have had a bad college experience.
Do you have a pet that greets you with a smile at the end of your work day? No matter the mood you are in they are happy to see you and your day feels much better because of that pet.
34 years of personal experience working with high achieving college students and my own 2 sons college graduates, tells me that they are super stressed and appreciate anything we do to help relieve it. Exams are stressful.
They are humans not sardines packed in a can. Just because they are bright and have a mature vocabulary doesn't mean they don't have feelings and get tired.
How would you feel after staying up all night studying? I bet you wouldn't last one night... they on the other hand have 2 weeks of exams, papers, performances, and let's not forget jobs too.
I'm glad we had the sea monkeys, (yes sea monkeys) bubbles, and snacks. It was fun, they seem to breathe a little easier when they were in our library. If it helped relax them for their tests then fine it was worth it. I know they will grow up to be kind, empathic young adults and maybe make our world a little less rough around the edges.
"What's so funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding?" Nick Lowe
Hmmm. . . this to me is just another way to how we are coddling our children, and failing to prepare them for the actual workplace. I graduated from high school 15 years ago, and we had none of this, but guess what there is none of it in real life either. The kids we see coming into the workforce probably for the last five to ten years are so unprepared , cannot handle stress, cannot deal with others and think they should also be number one. This comes from a society that gave everybody on the team trophies, rather than rewarding those that actually succeed that have teachers intervene in bullying (guess what adults still get bullied too) and now cookies and dogs and no wonder the kids act like they do!
Actually, having access to a pet, massages, screaming, and other stress relief techniques are a great way to teach students about safe coping strategies that they can carry over into the workplace, instead of binge drinking and eating.
I disagree. A lot of companies are finding ways to take some stress out of work. They are finding it increasingly more difficult to retain talented people (Who are always in great demand) if they do not offer work life balance programs, ways to unwind after work and a social aspect to getting things done. The most successful new companies mix fun with business.
I think it is great... Students should not be expected to have to deal with highly stressful workplace environments. They are already graduating into a really poor job market, if anything they need less stress than being told to suck it up and be ready for the worst 40 years of your life... called work.
Sorry you do not work for a company who values you and is not willing to invest some time, money and effort into a program to make work more enjoyable.
I'm old, and personally I like the puppy idea. Wish I had a puppy... well ... a rental maybe. don't like cleaning up crap.
I also joined the workforce directly out of high school. I have spent the past five years working and and attending school both full time. I think this is wonderful and these kids need it. College is extremely stressful. It's a different kind of stress than working and paying bills.
I don't know why people want life to be any more difficult than necessary. Coping with stress effectively is a valuable toll for these young people to learn. It's not coddling – it teaching. Good job, UNH! I wish there were some dogs at my library right now!
Many companies (mine included) are now offering different initiatives such as this for obvious reasons – talent will leave and find work elsewhere if talent is not satisfied. The Energy Project is one such initiative – encourages employees to get away, take a walk, have meetings outside, bring in healthy snacks, go to a library corner, etc. Maybe you're not as enlightened as you think you are.
yea... we do that too. Whatevs.
My school does some exam destressers similar to this, but I never feel I have the time for them...
Nothing wrong with relieving a little stress during exam week. In my college days (the early 80's) in the Austin area, I would relieve stress at a wonderful business that was called "Float to Relax", they offered massage and sensory deprivation tanks. One hour in the tank and you're were a new person – I would love to have one of those in my home.
1. Finals aren't as hard as people on this thread are making them out to be (or maybe you aren't really cut out for college?), but who really cares if universities want to spend their money helping kids who can't hack it deal with their stress? As someone who just graduated from an ivy league school (not trying to be arrogant, just nipping all those "so I bet you're miserable and never went to college" responses in the bud), I agree that it's sort of embarrassing that we stage these kinds of things when undergrad is already way easier than it has ever been, but hey; does it really matter? If students shelling out 30K a year for school want some of that money to be used on a puppy party that’s up to them.
2. The point about poor grammar was proven in astoundingly convincing fashion. Seriously, if you're gonna call someone out as a grammar nazi, at least make a discernable effort to avoid blatant grammatical mistakes.
1. Weird criticism of the program. The cost is low.
It manages stress. What's the issue?
2. Correcting language.. I agree with you.
Hey Mr/Mrs Ivy League: you spelled discernible incorrectly.
Actually I think both spellings are acceptable.
It's not that the finals are "hard", which really varies by program and professor anyway, so much as how much students stress out over them. I never really did, but I had friends that studied night and day when, in my opinion, they didn't need to worry as much or work nearly so hard in order to succeed at them. It's important to learn how to manage stress throughout life, and hopefully these programs are successful in that in addition to the immediate benefit.
Hey Ivy Leage Idiot I mean Chris,
Maybe your major was just easy...take it from an Mechanical Engineer with a Master degree...finals week can be very hard and nerve wracking. Ivy League or not if ur major is Theater or Poly Sci then yah they might not be so hard. Try taking a final in Differential Equations, Fluid Mechanics or Advanced Mechanics of Materials.
I'm guessing daddy paid for ur tuition and all your time was spent hanging with ur frat brothers...some of us had to work in addition to earning a degee.
Pet Therapy is a volunteer organization.. no funds, tuition or otherwise (state dollars) were spent to bring the dogs to the Library. Thank goodness there are kind, thoughtful people 'out there' who are willing to do what they can to bring a smile to a fellow human being (or dog's) face.
God can help with stress much better.
Yes God, the being that threatens eternal hell to everyone, is the captain of stress relief.
Or increase the stress by sending locusts and filling your body with sores. Or according to some, he may even give AIDS to certain gay sinners. I think God gives me the gift of foolish Christians to laugh at. It helps a lot.
I'll remember that as I watch you tossed into the Lake of Fire......LOL!!!
So you are saying that God had nothing to do with giving us dogs to make our lives better. How narrow-minded of you.
Who do you think created dogs?
That's right, Susan. God created dog in his image, and to prove it what does the word 'dog' spell backwards? Think about it for a minute.
Folks ... I have a Therapy Dog and I see up close and personal what she does with the elderly, young readers, and patients in hospitals! Perhaps there is a call here for Readers to become more aware of animals being more than ... just a pet! I can assure you that her presence, no matter how small, is a welcome gift of endorphins in a Stranger's Heart!
College is so expensive, it damn well better come with a puppy and cookies!
Thank you so much for correcting the error in the headline!
And here I am thinking that hard work is what helped students. My mistake.
Guess we better give them dogs at their new jobs too, because the stress of the real world is just too much to handle.
*rolls eyes* Freaking coddled babies. OH NO, SCHOOL IS HARD!! WHAA WHAA WHAA WHAAAAA.... SHUT UP!
I'm sorry...I didn't see anything here that said that hard work doesn't help. All the article said is that stress management also helps. I hate to break it to you, but it's telling the truth. If dogs and cookies help alleviate mental health issues, then why would you be opposed to them?
What in the world makes you think we're not working hard?! I dare you to walk into the University's library during finals week and say that. Old people had it easy back then... everyone was accepted into college and graduate school and it was much more affordable.
Hey Frankenstien... Take a modern day exam and see how easy it is, if we could go bask to your ancient days of the 3 "R's" I'm sure no one would have a problem... Get over yourself. Times have changed and I'm SURE you wouldn't be able to pass a test, or even know what to with a scan-tron paper.....
I remember thinking how school was overwhelmingly stressful when I was a student...and then I entered the work force and realized how easy I had it. I don't think you really have the breadth of experience to know what you're talking about.
While Frank comes off as an idiot, he's got a point. If you think School is really stressful, you have no prayer once you are out in the real world.
Living up to your parents' and your own expectations (ie getting good grades) can be very stressful. Also keep in mind that many college students also work to support or supplement, so they are doing two jobs.
There is nothing wrong with learning how to use positive techniques to manage stress. I'm sure the dogs enjoy the attention too!
I work at UNH, both in the Library and with these kids, mostly freshman. They are 80 days removed from being in high school. They watch their parents struggling to keep jobs, to maintain health care, and many are taking on thousands of dollars in debt to go to college. They feel these stresses long before they hit their first exams. Anything we can do to relieve their stress encourages their learning, their educational success, and their ability to eventually draw a good salary that will contribute to the retirement of mean-spirited schmucks like you.
I would sooo love if my work did this!!
"Dogs helps students through exams" reads the headline for this story on the front page. Perhaps Dogs need to "helps" the CNN webmaster or editor? Come on- CNN is leading this country into illiteracy. I'm always looking for editing jobs, and this would never get by me.
LOL @ the grammar police... I'm sure you would never, ever make a mistake.
You're one of those people that loved saying "Don't say ain't because ain't ain't a word" weren't you? Get over yourself. Yes, technology is leading some people to become reliant on computers to do simple things like spelling and grammar checks; but that is the way things go; and even as people like you scream about declining intelligence the amount of research being published increases exponentially over time. You should stop and consider that language is completely natural and that – when in isolation – people naturally develop their own language. So, concentrating on the semantics on one permutation of human speech (ex "proper English") is just a waste of time. You knew what the article is about despite the grammatical error. Seriously...grammar natzis are starting to sound like nails on chalkboard.
I believe you proved my point
I'm with sweetmisery on this one. That headline isn't "living language". It's carelessness, possibly even a typo.
This is professional journalism. Grammar police are part of the deal. Comments sections? Not so much.
Who knows. The author might even appreciate the word to the wise and fix it.
Seriously? How much more can we coddle future generations? Here's some news for all the kiddies- life is hard, there are people that don't win trophies and sometimes you'll be the loser.
@Raul – Since when is stress management "coddling"? I guess all those Special Forces soldiers that go through Stress Innoculation are weaklings to you?
Who am I kidding? You're envious because you never had the honor of going to a University, right?
Apostate – When did you go through Special Forces Stress Innoculation (What is innoculation?)? Are you comparing taking a college exam to Special Forces training – please? Having served in the Army (Nam Aug.'65-Aug'66) – and then completing college – and then teaching at the university level for 20 years – if when taking a college exam you need a puppy dog to pet you are getting ready to have a REAL problem upon graduation.
Get over yourself Falcon691.
Either you went to a really bad university or didn't go at all to university at all to understand what students go through studying for finals.
I went to a tier one university, and I agree with him. The dogs are one thing but the rest of it is just ridiculous. Life is stressful; get over it!
...maybe you just aren't cut out for college.
I guess you lost a lot in life huh? Just because life is hard doesn't mean we should purposefully make it hard on students while they are learning. Anything that can be done to help them with their stress is a good thing. I'm sorry you have a miserable life.
Yes, you could end up as one of those losers who gripes about "kids these days" while you stubbornly refuse to learn better ways of doing things.
I'm assuming you don't know what it's like studying for exams that pretty much determines our FUTURE. We're working HARD and deserve a little stress relief. Get a life!
Do you not realize that illiteracy was about 50% 100 years ago? So where were all these go getter no-stress-having students then that now are being replaced by babies who need to cuddle with a dog (according to you)?
Yeah, making progress is for wimps. What's up with all this modern technology BS. We used to walk to school up hill both ways in 2' of snow, when little Johnny got frost bite on his fingers we were like, "gloves!?" who wears those things, just coddling to your wussy blood circulation.
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