By Riley Hill
Students’ Union vice-president student life Ben Cannon has a plan to help students relax during fall semester’s final exams. In fact, he thinks it’s as easy as filling a room with dogs.
Fulfilling his election promise, Cannon is working on designating a so-called “puppy-room” in the MacEwan Student Centre later this year.
Cannon first offered the idea during his SU election campaign in March 2013. He proposed a room full of dogs in the MacEwan Student Centre at the end of fall semester, giving students a free and fun place to relax during the stressful exam period.
After taking office on May 3, Cannon contacted the Pet Access League Society in Calgary. The non-profit group views pets as therapy, bringing volunteers and their animals to schools and retirement homes where they think people could benefit from the affection of a friendly animal.
Cannon now says that the puppy room should be in the MSC this December with dogs from PALS, but also added that plans are not yet graven in stone.
“We are looking at having it as the main attraction for stress less week, which will be happening December 2–6. It’s looking very hopeful, but the last thing I want to do is say that it’s happening for sure,” Cannon said.
Seconds after learning that he had been elected the SU’s vice-president student life on March 7, Cannon said there would be trouble if he didn’t follow through with his campaign promise to bring in the puppy room.
“Like I said moments after winning the election, if I don’t get this done, they’re going to hang me in the south courtyard,” Cannon said. “All I can say right now is I am really comfortable that that won’t happen.”
Despite the name, the room will feature adult dogs, not puppies.
Cannon hopes that the puppy room will attract at least 1,000 students for the week that it’s open.
SU law representative Jessica Babineau is a volunteer with PALS and has assisted Cannon with his ongoing efforts. She said she has witnessed the positive effects animals can have on people during stressful periods in their lives.
“There’s been a lot of studies and a lot of proof that shows how much animals can relieve stress for a lot of people, especially for students who are going through exams,” Babineau said. “During those exam periods, which are some of the most stressful times, taking that time to connect with an animal and smile a little bit can really help.”