Keystone College Opens Pet Friendly Residence Hall

Keystone College will soon have some new “residents” but it’s not accurate to refer to them as actual “students.” For the first time in its 156-year history, Keystone will offer a pet friendly residence hall as a housing option beginning in the fall 2024 semester. Tewksbury Hall has been designated as a “pet friendly residence” for students residing there. The new designation applies not only to pets, usually dogs, classified as emotional support animals, but also to other traditional, non-emotional support pets as well. The four-story residence hall has two floors of male residents and two floors of female residents.

“During the last few years, we have seen a steady increase in students requesting a pet friendly residence hall option, not just for emotional-support animals but for other pets too,” said Keystone Assistant Vice President of Student Life Carlyle Hicks. “Because of that, we felt the time has arrived to offer this new option to our students.”

Of course, there are specifications as to the number and types of pets’ students may bring into the residence hall, as well as other rules which must be followed. For example, each residence hall room may contain one dog, and one cat or two small caged animals such as gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits. Dog breeds such as pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, and wolf hybrids are not permitted. Other requirements include such items as certified spay and neuter records, pet tags, and photos of each animal. Liability insurance is also recommended, and roommates must agree to having a pet in the room. So far, a few students have asked to bring their pets to campus, but Mr. Hicks expects the number of requests to increase as word of the pet friendly option spreads.

“Certainly, maintaining safe and sanitary conditions is a priority and we expect students who bring pets into their room to abide by all the stipulations we have so that everyone has a positive experience, and that includes the pets themselves,” Mr. Hicks said.

In recent years, emotional support animals have become important factors in the therapeutic treatment of young people, including college students. Colleges and universities have also realized, that, in addition to providing support for students dealing with documented medical conditions, pets can often provide comfort, entertainment, and friendship while boosting morale and comradery in a residence hall setting. Other colleges which have opened some form of pet friendly residences in recent years include Penn Western University/Clarion, Lock Haven Commonwealth University, Johnson & Wales University, and Stetson University, among others. “We are always willing to explore new ways to bolster our students’ educational and life experiences at Keystone. The opening of our first pet friendly residence hall is definitely something that will provide that type of beneficial result,” said Mr. Hicks.