Students under the stress of passing finals next week will have a furry friend to turn to for a moment of relaxation.
Elizabeth Worley, associate director for public service and professor in the Hardin-Simmons University Richardson Library, says petting an animal reduces stress and lowers heart rate. Worley, who has been researching therapy dogs, says, “I have a friend who has a therapy dog she takes to schools. I have also heard of other academic libraries inviting therapy dogs. Looking for a program to have on campus during finals week, Gary Stephenson, in educational technologies, told me about the program at Hendrick Medical Center. We were hoping we could host the dogs for at least a day, but they were available all three days, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.”.
The dogs are well trained and go through a rigorous certification process to qualify them to be a part of the program, says Worley. “Dog owners serve as volunteers and spend their time to bring the dogs to the library. We don’t know how many will be here each time, but therapy dogs come in all different sizes, so there is sure to one a student will enjoy petting. Students can just come over to the first floor and hug on a dog.”
Worley says the dogs will in the lobby area, and if it is nice outside, may be just outside the lobby as well. “Because of allergies some people may have, we’ll keep the dogs just in the front part of the library, students already in the library to study can choose to come downstairs and love on a dog if they want,” she says.
Worley also wants to remind students that there are a number of other study activities in which they can participate. “Sunday, before finals start at 8 a.m. Monday, that’s a very big study day. The dogs will be here prior to the Pancake Study Break, the annual breakfast break in the cafeteria Sunday evening.”
Also, on that Sunday, a new event, Brain Storm, will help kick off finals week. Brain Storm begins at 7:30 p.m. with faculty-led study sessions in Moody Center’s room 108 and the Skiles Building. Brain Storm also includes peer-led study sessions in economics, English, math, various sciences, and the HSU Writing Center, says Stacy Martin, undergrad director of academic advising.
Martin says the 10:30 p.m. session will have a little added incentive with Starbucks coffee being served, and Moody Center will be open until 2 a.m. as students prepare for the upcoming week of finals.
Worley says the library will also keep big pots of free coffee brewing from Sunday all the way through Thursday, the last day of finals. “We also have extended hours with each of the floors staffed with personnel, students can check out books, the labs are open, and students can take care any of their printing needs. We are full service until 1 a.m., every night Sunday through Tuesday,” she says.
· Pet therapy hours will be Sunday, May 5, 2013, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., Monday and Tuesday, 6 – 8 p.m.
· Pancake Study Break, 9 – 10 p.m., in the cafeteria with door prizes that include iPads, headphones, and a Keurig coffee maker.
· Brain Storm, faculty-led sessions begin at 7:30, Moody and Skiles buildings; 10:30 p.m., peer-led sessions.
· Library extended hours are Saturday, May 4, 1 – 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 5, 1 p.m. – 1 a.m.; Monday and Tuesday, May 6 – 7, 7:30 a.m. -1 a.m.
Free coffee; priceless