With finals this week, the University Library hosted a free, de-stressing event called the Petting Farm, where CPP students gathered to greet friendly goats and sheep at the University Park from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.
Partnering with AGRIscapes and Discovery Farm, the event serves as part of the University Library’s Focus on Finals Week, a campaign program providing students with resources to assist them through the stress of finals week.
“The animals are very popular at the Pumpkin Festival, and we found that it was a de-stressor for many people,” said Alisha Lebrun, employee at the Petting Farm and animal science student. “We thought that for finals, being around the animals could help a lot of people.”
Animal assisted therapy has been shown to have both mental and physical health benefits. According to UCLA Health, the simple act of petting an animal is shown to promote the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. These hormones play a part in elevating moods and are linked to lowering anxiety.
The Petting Farm hours expanded from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., where students had the opportunity to both pet and feed various farm animals, including four goats and two sheep. Feedings were done through small cups containing food pellets, allowing the animals to eat from the hands of attendees.
For student participants like computer engineering student Maximus Moore, the event served as a fun experience to become familiar with the agricultural side of the campus.
“I would like to see more events like these in the future. With the campus having a big agriculture department it would be nice to see more animals on campus,” said Moore.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Petting Farm was one of the few in-person events available to students during the Focus on Finals Week. In the past, the library would host therapy dog days, allowing students to destress with trained therapy dogs.
According to University Library employee Kris Zoleta, the Petting Farm created an ideal situation where students would be able to participate in winding down while also remaining safe around others.
“It’s nice bringing events like these to the students because there are things you definitely miss without in-person events,” said Zoleta. “We normally do a lot more of these, but because of the pandemic, this is one of the more unconventional things we started doing this year.”
With this being a pilot event for Focus on Finals Week, the University Library looks to bring the Petting Farm to events in the future.
“It seems like a popular event and I would definitely say that we can expect more petting farms,” said Lebrun. “Students should get involved with the animals because they are here and they do love being pet. It’s a great opportunity.”
The University Library’s Focus on Finals Week spans from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, with future events including pop-up booths all around campus offering free scantrons, blue books, stress balls and even coupons for free Centerpointe meals. Students can also receive 50% off at Lollicup from Dec. 6 to 10 from 5-7 p.m.