With finals approaching, UTSA’s Student Government Association (SGA) has been formulating an event to help with the stress of finals week.

One proposal offers students the opportunity to interact with puppies for up to 10 minutes in what is unofficially called the “Puppy Zone.”

The stress-free zone will be located next to the UC Paseo stairs and in the grassy area between the H-E-B University Center and McKinney Humanities Building. The idea is supported by research showing that interaction with pets decreases the level of cortisal – a stress hormone – in people and increases endorphins, which lead to feelings of happiness.

“Every semester we have finals and students are always stressed….this type of zone would serve students who just want to go and de-stress for a while, get away from tests, get away from classes,” said SGA’s appointed University Advancement Committee Chair Alex Guajardo, who is in charge of the project.

Proposed by UTSA’s student body through the means of suggestion slips on the Student Government Association booth, the “Puppy Zone” is also receiving outside support. The Protection of Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS) has offered to provide small fences to keep the puppies in a secure and safe environment, and the Humane Society will be providing puppies of less than a year old weighing one to three pounds.

With research conducted by the Harvard Medical School showing pets improve people’s psychological well-being and self-esteem, this puppy-zone has proven worthy of numerous institutions.

“A lot of universities have actually already adopted this type of program, so in that sense we wanted to adopt it as well for the students,” stated Guajardo.

Other schools in Texas who have adopted this “Puppy Zone” include Texas State University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Rice University.

Attention has been brought to the “Puppy Zone” initiative, but it likely won’t be implemented until finals week of Spring 2014.

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