Students react to the unveiling of Rowan’s pet therapy program

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Last Thursday, the ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the Schreiber Family Pet Therapy Program.

Named after Gerald Schrieber of J&J Snack Foods Corp. of Pennsauken, the program seeks to help students de-stress with a group of up to five or six therapy dogs located in the lower level of the Wellness Center.

Schreiber donated $3 million to help fund the program and keep itself sustaining in June. The program is expected to start in 2020, and will be available to students five days out of the week.

Schreiber is seeking to bring Rowan students more happiness through his funding of this program.

“Anyone who’s ever had a dog, a cat, or a horse, knows,” Schreiber said at the ceremony. “No matter what kind of day have, when you get home, it’s better.”

Many believe that the program will be a great way to improve the days of students. Among these with this belief is Dr. Thomas Dinzeo, the Interim Head of the Department of Psychology.

“For college students, especially those who might be away from home or not fully integrated into a social group, an interaction with the animals might provide an opportunity for positive, reciprocal, interaction,” said Dr. Dinzeo. “ For others, it might offer a quick moment of joy, or something that allows them to temporarily get out of their heads, something commonly described by anxious individuals, and ‘be in the present moment.’”

Dr. Dinzeo went on to speak about how the community views the program along with Schreiber’s generous donation to help fund it. 

Dr. Dinzeo said, “The university community is very appreciative of the donation that allowed this program to begin… I believe that this program will certainly bring some levity and joy to our students.”

Many Rowan students are excited to see the program of this nature come to campus. David Goode, a sophomore jazz studies major, is among those excited for the new program.

When asked if he would attend, Goode said “Oh hell yeah, I would definitely go to that!”

Goode also talked about how the program could be beneficial to students, especially those with heavier workloads.

“I think it could be especially beneficial to some of the quote on quote, harder majors. A lot of people have a lot of stuff going on in their lives,” said Goode. “I think a [pet therapy program] is a good thing to have on campus as an aside from everything.”

Schreiber’s donation also funded the hiring of Michele Pitch to run the program, and the making of the 744-square foot space that the program will take place in, in the lower section of the Wellness Center.

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