Students -- and pets -- move into dorms at Nicholls State

August 16, 2022 GMT

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — A south Louisiana college is welcoming students back to campus and some, for the first time, are bringing their pets.

Taylor Lafleur moved into a dorm at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux last week with her dog, Moa — a 7-month-old Great Pyrenees and hound mix.

Lafleur, a senior, said she’s wanted to bring her dog to campus since freshman year. She said she doesn’t have the resources to get an emotional support animal or service dog, but Moa provides emotional support for her just the same, The Daily Comet reported.

“She helps me take my mind off of my other responsibilities while also helping me stay in line and reminding me someone loves me and is happy to see me no matter what,” Lafleur said. “She truly helps keep me happy.”

Alex Coad, Nicholls’ director of residential living, said seven students signed up to bring their pets to campus this semester — mostly dogs but also a few cats.


The Pet-Friendly Living Learning Community pilot program, announced in April, is a first for any Louisiana public university.

Coad said Calecas Hall was chosen because 10 rooms’ back porches face a green area enclosed by a fence, making it perfect for pets.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for students to live with their animals when they may not have a specific need for an emotional support or service animal,” Coad said. “The program will focus on developing the student and animals and bringing students who love animals together into a community.”

Calecas Hall, a one-story building attached to the Nicholls State police station, houses roughly 80 residents. Only returning sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible to participate in the program, and rooms are assigned first-come, first-served basis. Each pet owner will need to provide vet and vaccination records.

“Research clearly shows that many students can benefit both psychologically and socially from living with an animal companion,” Vice President for Student Affairs Michele Caruso has said. “We wanted to create this community as a way to both enhance the quality of life for our students and also challenge them to grow in personal and social accountability.”

Classes began Monday at Nicholls.