Lyon College announced it is opening a pet-friendly residence hall beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Dogs and cats will be able to join their human companions in the dorm – and to roam all over the 145 year old campus in Batesville. The college says it's the first in Arkansas to allow animals to live on campus with students.
College President W. Joseph King says in a press release it’s a progressive step for student life that comes from the heart, "Like many of our students, my family has had beloved dogs and cats. We know how much they are a part of your life."
Initially 20 students will be allowed to bring their animals concentrated in one residence hall. Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Patrick Mulik says the pet-friendly disposition is also rooted in evidence.
“This specific living community came about through listening to our students and closely examining the empirical literature on the benefits of pets. Both suggest that the students in the pet-friendly residence hall will cope better with stress and be more productive than if they did not have their pets living with them.”
The Presbyterian college will also offer a pet blessing around the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of animals, each October. Chaplain Maggie Alsup says “It is a time to recognize our mutual interdependence with God’s creatures and to give thanks for the relationships we have with them.”
The "First Pet" of the college has also produced a letter about the new campus policy.