On Friday, several furry four-legged friends will be in front of the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center to help reduce the added stress of starting the fall semester. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of Youngstown State University’s Welcome Week.
Puppy Palooza, currently in its second year, was created by Holly Mate and Lesley Anne Roddy. Mate and Roddy conducted and participated in a study that showed puppies helped relieve stress levels. The two are graduate assistants at the Rec Center.
New Lease on Life, an animal shelter located in Struthers, Ohio, will be providing around 11 puppies to ease the stress on the incoming students. New Lease on Life is dedicated to reducing euthanasia rates in local pounds and shelters by saving the animals that are next on the euthanasia list.
This year Puppy Palooza is going to have more puppies, as well as the goal to work on marketing the shelter. Students who attend the event will be able to relieve stress by playing with the puppies and creating their own trail mix treat.
Anna Pompeo, graduate assistant at the Rec Center, will be acting as the administrator of the event. This is her first year participating in Puppy Palooza. Due to the event’s success last year, Pompeo is using the motto of ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’
“I am so excited to be taking over this event and I think it will be a wonderful way to allow students to be stress-free, as well as care-free, for a few hours,” she said.
Pompeo said she believes that the campus should offer more events like Puppy Palooza because they need innovative ways to bring students to their events, and something as random as puppies is a great attention-grabber.
Ryan McNicholas, coordinator of fitness and wellness programs, is also helping with the event, in regards to food, parking and set-up. He expects students to relax and enjoy themselves in this stress-free environment.
“I love having this event because it is such a stress reduction program,” he said. “Students on campus are very stressed at this time of the year so anything that can help reduce that is beneficial.”
Pompeo stated that Puppy Palooza is a good introduction to the university’s campus during Welcome Week because it is a unique event and it is different from other campuses.
“I think it will be a good way to meet new students as well as shed some unwanted stresses and fears at the start of the new semester,” she said. “Plus, it will be adorable.”