Several colleges, including UC Berkeley, are offering llamas as a form of stress reduction on campus for students unable to cope with their finals.
UC Berkeley, the University of South Florida, and Radford University are among several colleges to bring the pack animals onto campus to help students deal with the stress of completing their finals.
Campus Reform reports that students at the University of South Florida welcomed the wooly animals during a “Paws & Relax” event sponsored by the school’s Center for Student Well-Being, which is described as a “collaborative effort of six health and wellness departments on campus.”
The center’s website says the event happens every semester, when they bring dogs and other furry animals to the campus to help students dealing with stress.
Students who visited the animals shared their messages of gratitude to the llamas on social media, while those who did not have the chance to do so said they were upset that they couldn’t see the animals.
Im pissed i wasnt on campus to see the llama
— Camila 🍥 (@camilarvera) November 28, 2017
Many others expressed skepticism over the event.
At the University of California, Berkeley, the school’s Twitter account announced the visitation of the llamas, which they claim helped “ease #finals drama.”
— UC Berkeley (@UCBerkeley) December 4, 2017
“Pet a llama at @UCBerkeley’s Memorial Glade, here until 4 [email protected]_Union,” the official account tweeted.
However, not everyone at the liberal college was receptive to the endeavor. In the college’s student newspaper, the Daily Californian, a student writer posed the question: “Do animals help reduce stress? The llamas may not save your GPA.”
The article argues that “de-stress” events involving “therapy dogs” and other furry creatures may not actually yield a positive effect on stressed-out students. It cites Yale doctoral candidate Molly Crossman’s 2015 study, “Effects of Interactions With Animals on Human Psychological Distress,” which showed the limited efficacy of stress reduction from the activity.
Other students, as noted by Campus Reform, told the student newspaper that the event did nothing to help them.
“The bottom line is that I think there’s too much attention on animals,” said student Daniel Shepard, a campus senior and business administration major “People are paying attention to the animals to the point that they’re ignoring humans.”
“The only positive effect is that it did give me something to giggle about afterward,” he said.
Following graduation, there aren’t going to be any llamas for the students to hug when real life comes knocking.
Photograph courtesy of Getty Images.