College Students Pet Cows To De-StressKatie Taylor
During finals week, college campuses across the country change from boisterous, amiable acres where a game of touch football may break out at any moment, to empty lawns dotted with halls full of quiet, harried students frantically going over notes and memorizing study guides.
Colleges and universities have taken note of these stressed students, huddled in the library and biting their nails while praying that the year’s work won’t have all been for naught. Many college campuses now offer ways for students to de-stress, and some have started hiring groups of puppies to help soothe students and give them a mental break.
But Michigan State University thought beyond dogs. In 2018, they decided that bigger was better. What would really help students to de-stress, they thought, would be to pet some calming, soothing, mooing cows.
For $10, a MSU student could spend 30 minutes petting and brushing a friendly dairy cow at the school’s Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center. The event was called “Finals Stress Mooove On Out!” But of course it was.
The school’s farm manager, Andrea Meade, said that cows are ideal therapy animals. “They’re very calm, very sweet,” she said.
It’s a win-win situation, as the students get a chance to de-stress, and the brushing keeps cows clean and helps them relax. Andrea gave visiting students information on the milking process and instructions on how to interact with the Holsteins before letting them try their hand at animal husbandry.
The program allows students not in the farm program to appreciate animals they don’t usually get to interact with. MSU is considering expanding the program to the general public in the future so that everyone can experience cow-therapy in a uniquely Pure Michigan experience.