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Nicholls to offer Louisiana’s first pet-friendly residence hall

Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. will become the first university in the state to...
Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. will become the first university in the state to offer a pet-friendly residence hall beginning in Fall 2022.(Misty Leigh McElroy | Misty Leigh McElroy (Provided by Nicholls State University))
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 5:34 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2022 at 5:35 PM CDT
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THIBODAUX, La. (WAFB) - Nicholls State University will become the first university in Louisiana to offer a pet-friendly residence hall.

University officials say the existing residence hall, North Babington Hall, will allow students to have pets beginning in Fall 2022.

Dr. Michele Caruso, who is the Vice President for Student Affairs, said her and her team had previously discussed the idea but decided to expedite it following Hurricane Ida.

In the aftermath of the storm, displaced students and families needed to bring their furry family members with them, Dr. Caruso explained.

The university housed 14 dogs and nine cats with their owners displaced due to Hurricane Ida.

Dr. Caruso also said on research shows many pet-owners believe their pets have helped them get through difficult times. The pets also made less likely to feel lonely or depressed, researchers said.

“Research clearly shows that many students can benefit both psychologically and socially from living with an animal companion,” Dr. Caruso said. “We wanted to create this community as a way to both enhance the quality of life for our students and also challenge them to grow in personal and social accountability.”

Only cats and dogs will be allowed at North Babington Hall when the program launches in the fall. The hall will also be equipped with a dog park furry residents “to get exercise and socialize.”

“The university will continue to evaluate the option to add other pets in the future,” Alex Coad, who is the Director of Residential Living, said.

Only returning sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible to live in the pet-friendly residence all at this time. Administrators say the rooms will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Eligible students will have the option to request a pet-friendly room in North Babington Hall during the room selection process that is happening now.

Each pet owner is required to provide vet and vaccination records.

“This program will focus on promoting a pet-friendly environment and provide opportunities for students to learn about the basics of caring for an animal such as obedience training, socialization and appropriate health habits,” Coad said. “We hope that the students living in this environment thrive with the chance to come to school with their 4-legged companions.”

Nicholls will continue to allow for students to bring emotional support animals to campus through a separate waiver process, officials say.

More information can be found on the university’s website by clicking here or by calling 985-448-4479.

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