Benefits of emotional support animals

Qualifying students may be granted permission to have an emotional support accompany them on campus. 

“A student would have to provide proper documentation to the Office of Disability Services which is typically some form of a doctor’s note, vet records, etc,” Karen Sommers, assistant director of Residence Life, said.  

The Fair Housing act ensures that students who are approved for emotional support animals can have their animal live with them on campus.  

Julian Dial, coordinator of Disability Services, said there are many benefits emotional support animals provide students. 

“They help with calming and relaxing a student especially when they have a hard day,” Dial said. “They alleviate loneliness especially for incoming freshmen.”  

Dial said other benefits include helping students engage socially as well as normalizing heart rates and blood pressure. 

“They can’t take the animal with them to their classes, but they can be out in the open with them,” Dial said. 

Dogs and cats are the most common animals helping students on campus, but any animal can qualify to provide emotional support.  

For more information about the Office of Disability Services, call 304-696-2467 or visit Prichard Hall. 

Jonathan Still can be contacted at [email protected] 

Isabella Robinson can be contacted at [email protected]