In the past, UW Tacoma has hosted de-stress events during the week of finals — the one time students do not have the extra time to take out of their already busy schedule to meditate for an hour during lunch. During these de-stress events, the school has brought in pets for students to pet and hang out with to help reduce stress levels.
Why is the school only holding these events once per quarter or even once a school year and not all year round? The school, in efforts to address these questions, has decided to make these dreams a reality by introducing an animal cafe on campus located in the student lounge in the Birmingham Hay & Seed building, since the majority of students don’t use the space anyways.
The plan for this space is to make it into a cafe that sells coffee and de-stressing teas with lavender, peppermint, chamomile, green tea, licorice and many more. Better yet, the area will also include animals available for customers to pet and play with.
Based on information from health.com, there are four ways that pets help reduce stress: they lower stress hormones, bring down blood pressure, step outside personal problems and provide real therapy like service animals. If animals possess the ability to bring a human this type of comfort then the university decided this service should be available for college students who are, oftentimes, in stressful situations. The school realized that having this will increase the likelihood of helping to improve both students’ mental health which in turn helps grades.
With this being said, one issue remains: faculty and staff can’t decide on the type of animal to have in the cafe. Some say it should be dogs since we are UW Huskies, but others disagree and believe that the dogs will be loud and having them in a small confined area wouldn’t be fair. They argue that dogs need the room to run and if the cafe were located in a different area then it would be a different story. On the other hand, other faculty is arguing that the use of cats would be more effective since they are quieter, do better in smaller spaces and are easier to take care of.
Due to these disputes, the school is reaching out for student input as to which animal you would rather see at the cafe: dogs or cats. The school wants to make sure that the students will use this space to help destress before college life becomes too overwhelming. If things go well with the cafe, faculty has also said that holding yoga classes throughout the school year could also help students tremendously with stress.
There will also be a section for other ideas of locations for the cafe to go because if students do use the BHS student lounge the school doesn’t want to take that space away from students. In the section you could write, for example, if students want to see dogs then they can suggest the lawn space next to Court 17.
If you would like to put in your proposal as to which animal and the location you’d like to see, then you can vote using this link: uw.edu/animal+cafe/voting/happyaprilfools