Smith-Adams has made a lot of big changes this year, including the decision to allow pets on the first floor.
Along with allowing students to have pets live with students, there should be a class accompanying the addition to prepare students for this big change.
Smith-Adams is a co-ed dorm that now invites sophomores, juniors, and seniors the opportunity to live there. Due to its off-campus position at the university, many students may opt for it to have a sense of living off-campus.
“We wanted Smith-Adams to be a place that students chose to be at and not just were selected to be there,” Darius Davis, resident director of Smith-Adams said.
Emotional Support Animals or ESA is an animal that is approved by a therapist and then registered using the correct outlets. Previously these animals were the only ones that were allowed to have residency in any ACU dorm.
“There are around ten animals, that include dogs, cats, turtles, and bunnies,” Davis said.
There are certain weight requirements animals must meet before being allowed to live in the dorm, and they must spend at least 4 months with the current owner to avoid students buying animals just so they can have a pet that year.
All animals are also required to live on the first floor of Smith Adams, where the carpet was specifically removed to accommodate these new animals.
Yet, despite all of these changes made the animals are still an inconvenience to some residents at Smith Adams.
Junior Christian Williams, a junior criminal justice major from Fort Worth, Texas, currently lives on the second floor of Smith-Adams but is still affected by the animals.
“College students are unequipped to take care of animals while balancing their day,” Williams said.
Like Psyc 211, a class created to train resident life staff to better handle res life issues, and support student life. There could possibly be a class for ACU students who own pets. This class could teach students how to take care of their pets in a way that considers the fact that they are living in a large community space.
Even if these students had animals at home, or have dealt with animals their entire life. At home and in a dorm are two very different locations. It can be difficult for students to navigate life in the dorm, roommates, and laundry while owning a pet.
That pet is their responsibility and while the idea is to add appeal to live at Smith-Adams. I believe that all students at Smith Adams will be enriched with the idea that every pet owner is qualified to own those pets.
DJ Hewitt, a sophomore criminal justice major from Lubbock Texas, is currently an RA at Smith Adams and he has experienced and witnessed some effects of the animals himself.
“There are dogs who bark all day long, and there is a smell,” Hewitt said.
I believe to solve the issues of the smell of animals, and the issue of dog hair in the washing machines Smith Adams could incorporate a single washer and dryer for pets only.
With this new protocol, they could avoid students complaining about animal hair in the machines that they use for their personal items as well.
Since all students need a cultural awareness credit and a PE credit, this class could satisfy one or the other for students. This class will also be required for students interested in owning non-esa pets in a dorm. However, this class could also have appeal to students who own ESA’s as well who are interested in learning how to better take care of their pet and deal with school.
This class could be taken the fall semester that the student will be living in Smith-Adams, or it could be taken a previous fall semester if they know in the future they will want to live with their pet in Smith-Adams.