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Colleges Offer Therapy Dogs, Play-Doh For Finals

Some colleges are helping students cope with final exams by offering them Play-Doh, therapy dogs and crayons for coloring.

According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, the University of Pennsylvania offered students a video game study break, a Zumba dance fitness program, chocolate and two adorable Labradors to play with in late April and early May.

The University of Illinois had a Reading Day on May 4 before finals to give students a break from classes, The Daily Illini reported. It also held a a "Paw Party," which featured therapy dogs.

Cheryl Berger, assistant head for alumni relations in the Department of Psychology, described the stress packages available to students: "The packages include tips for dealing with stress during finals week, a picture they can color with crayons, and some sweet treats. There will also be coupons from a local vendor."

The Penn State website said students could enjoy a "De-Stress Fest" with free coffee and snacks in late April and early May. The school also offered biofeedback programs, brain massage music, stress management workbooks, puzzles, art therapy and origami projects.

The University of Michigan Bridge Scholars Facebook page offered adult students Play-Doh, glitter bottles, coloring, dominoes, Legos and free pizza to de-stress on March 22 and 23.

Montana State University brought a 900-pound donkey named Oliver, Bernese mountain dogs and golden retrievers to the school on May 2 to help students with stress, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported. Students were also asked to track their stress levels.

Dogs were scheduled to visit students at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota to help them de-stress during the last week in April, according to KVCS,

The Tab reported that Temple University offered a "camping" event, called CAMP TU, on April 27. The event was supposed to be a way for students to recreate the camping experience with a rock wall, zip line and a petting zoo, complete with a chicken, pig, cow, sheep and alpaca.

Students were also invited to a "paint night," and had opportunities to make friendship bracelets and flower crowns.

Christopher Carey, director of student activities at Temple University, explained the offerings to The College Fix:

It’s a great opportunity for students to enjoy the spring weather and have fun with their friends prior to finals week. The second benefit is that we partner with a class in the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management so that those students gain some practical event planning experience.

The event went very well. While we don’t have an exact total, we are estimating around 2,000 students. I can say with certainty that students had a lot of fun. If having fun helped them relieve some stress or unwind a bit, that is great, too.

Sources: The Daily Pennsylvanian, The Daily Illini, Penn State, University of Michigan Bridge Scholars/Facebook, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, KVCSThe Tab, The College Fix  / Photo credit: Larry D. Moore/Wikimedia Commons

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