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Puppy petting zoo aims to relieve finals week stress at UWRF

Dominic Joch poses with a shelter puppy as he participates in the puppy petting zoo hosted by Theta Chi. The event was offered as a way to unwind from the stress of finals, and all proceeds will go to the shelter that helped put on the event. Yasmine Ruetz/Student Voice

May 2, 2018

With only this week separating the UW-River Falls student body from finals week, the anxiety around campus is almost tangible. Walking through the residence halls, it’s not uncommon to hear conversations start with, “So, how hopeless is your week looking?” or something similar. As a result, it’s worth noting when students find a reason to pause those conversations for a few minutes. This week, that distraction came in the form of a puppy petting zoo hosted by Theta Chi, one of the school’s fraternities.

For one dollar, students could enter a fenced-in area outside of the University Center, and the puppies inside helped them forget about their stress.

“It’s an event we throw the week before finals. It gives students a chance to relieve stress by petting puppies before their tests,” said Dominic Joch, Philanthropy Chairman for Theta Chi. The purpose of the event is to raise money for the shelter that helps them host the event. “The dollar admission goes to Lucky Paws, a non-profit pet rescue. All the proceeds go to them,” Joch explained.

The event ran from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the first of three days for the event. For the entire three hours, students were steadily filtering in and out of the petting zoo or gathering around the sides to find the best angle for their pictures.

Inside the fence, it was difficult to tell who were enjoying themselves more; the students or the puppies. Either way, the event was well received by participants.

“I like it because you get to play with puppies and the money goes to a really good cause,” said Angie Ramsdell, a second-year student studying animal science. The sentiment was shared by those around her, who also supported the cause.

Theta Chi has hosted the puppy petting zoo five times, with two of them taking place this year alone. While this may be their most highly anticipated philanthropy event of the semester, it’s not the only time the fraternity raises money for organizations.

“Next semester we’re participating in a volleyball tournament called Theta Fest,” Joch Said. “It’s a 3 v 3 style elimination tournament where the winners get food coupons and certificates as well as an increment of money to donate to a charity of their choice. That’s the biggest one we have coming up.”

At the end of the day, over 170 people had entered the puppy petting zoo. Of those, many expressed their plans to return for at least one more visit before the event was over. When the cost to momentarily forget about finals is only a dollar, the opportunity is hard to pass up. Of course, it helps to know that money is helping a cause that extends long past finals week.

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