This week UCOL Manawatū students were visited by some furry friends to help relieve some of the stress that comes at the end of the semester.
As part of UCOL's StressLess week (June 10-14), dog-owners from Canine Friends Pet Therapy brought their dogs to campus during Tuesday lunchtime. Students could pat and cuddle the dogs as a fun and relaxing break from studying.
The StressLess Week, organised by UCOL's Student Success team, provided students with relaxing activities during a busy, and sometimes stressful, time of the semester. For many students, this was the last week of classes, with final assignment due dates and exams just around the corner.
The UCOL Library also provided a space with colouring books, jigsaw puzzles, and board games during the week.
The visit from Canine Friends Pet Therapy proved especially popular, with students flocking to the library for the novelty of patting a dog during their lunchbreak. It was also a valuable and enjoyable experience for UCOL staff, bringing together staff from different departments who may not interact often.
Canine Friends Pet Therapy is a network of volunteers who take their friendly and well-behaved dogs to hospitals, rest homes, hospices, and other organisations.
Research has shown that many people show great improvement in their health and attitude through interactions with visiting animals. Canine Friends Pet Therapy volunteers find that their visits often energize and comfort people, and the dogs enjoy the attention.
UCOL Student Success Senior Manager Victoria Blockley-Powell says initiatives like StressLess Week play a part in the overall wellbeing of students, helping them live a balanced life and do their best in their studies.
"The wellbeing of students is something we take very seriously and understand that it has many facets. Supporting the wellbeing of students can take many forms from counselling, to academic support, lunchtime events, and even just the joy of cuddling up with a dog".
"We had so many students come to the library to spend time with the dogs. You could just see how much they enjoyed petting the dogs and talking to the owners. Simple interactions like these can go a long way."