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A Fluffball-a-Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Why Small Pets Should be Allowed on Campus

By Emily Pizza, Opinions Editor

Dewey the dog poses in Crissey Residence Hall (Photo by Emily Pizza)

Next door to me lives a dog named Dewey. Every time I see his owner, one of the residential life area coordinators, walking him down the hallway my heart always skips a beat as I reach down to pet him.

Too bad the feeling never lasts.

Due to school policy, students are not allowed to have pets on campus, unless they plan on bonding with a goldfish. While the policy was put in place to protect students with allergies or a fear of animals, as well as the dangers they may pose, I feel the school needs to create some leeway.

I agree with the school’s policy for dogs and cats, animals that people are often allergic to or afraid of, but it creates a very narrow scope of animals allowed on campus. There are many animals such as rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, or lizards who do not pose this sort of threat.

That said, no animal should be brought onto campus without the roommate’’s consent, and if that consent is broken the animal should be removed within 24 hours. That way, roommates can still be comfortable in their living spaces.

As Dana Jansma, the Associate Dean of Students understands, pets have many benefits for students.  According to a survey in Science Daily, “…found that nearly a quarter of college students surveyed believed their pets helped them get through difficult times in life.”

Considering that 1 in 5 undergradruatess are consistently stressed, according to NBC News, the worst thing you can do is destroy one of our coping mechanisms.

While organizations such as the Zookeepers help bring students closer to animals, the organization can only do so much. When a student is pacing in their room, terrified about their upcoming test, being able to cuddle with a hamster or let a snake slither up their arm could be the solace they needed.

One study reports that “when people were presented with stressful tasks in four different situations – alone, with their spouse, with their pet, or with both their spouse and their pet – they experienced the lowest stress response and the quickest recovery in the situation where they were only with their pet.”

This means that while talking to one’’s roommate may be helpful, the best type of de-stressing is with a furry companion. If the College is willing to put money into the Counseling Center, the least they can do is allow students to find their own coping mechanisms, as well.

No Direction Home: CIP Lacks Communication with Kalamazoo College Students During Kenya’s Biggest Terrorist Attack Since 1998

By Colin Smith, Contributor

Shortly after 12:00 pm, Andrea “Buffy” Satchwell ’15 sat in a public van on her way to downtown Nairobi, Kenya, until it stopped across Westgate Mall. As local Kenyans disputed in Kiswahili, an older gentleman finally informed her, “there’s been a robbery.”

On Saturday, September 21, 2013 after police arrived 30 minutes later, they realized the Somalia-based terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, attacked Westgate. Cited as a retaliation for Kenya’s invasion of Somalia in October 2011, the terrorist group hopes to push Kenyan forces out of their former territories by moving the focus to Kenya.

During the mall’s four day assault, Kalamazoo College students were isolated at their host-family’s homes, which are scattered across the city’s metro region. Nicole Caddow ’15 only lived a few streets away from Westgate Mall and she would go to sleep hearing gunshots and helicopters.

As we students were given orders to not leave home, we occupied our time with the Kenyan media which displayed corpses and blood on the mall’s steps. As the cameras rolled, the television networks reported at least 72 people were killed.

After a full 24 hours, Hannah Heenan ’15 called the Center of International Programs (CIP) to know their plan of action, but with no answer she left a voicemail. When she called back she was greeted with the question, “So are you in Senegal?”

When mentioning the terrorist attack, the CIP staff member responded, “Oh, I haven’t checked the news yet, it’s early.”

Despite it being the largest terrorist attack in Kenya since the 1998 US Embassy bombing, we expected communication, or at least the acknowledgement of the attack.

The study abroad program directors from the University of Nairobi eased our anxieties while they scrambled to see if their loved ones were okay. Given their detached position from the crisis and their duty to follow news in given study abroad regions, we expected the CIP to be informed of the attack the day it happened.

Failing our expectations, the CIP’s only responded until resuming its business day, Monday, September 23, which was the third day of the siege.

All our of claims were immediately dismissed as emotional. The lack of respect and contact contributed to the already high anxieties, ultimately prompting three students to leave the program.

After the threat of being sued by at least one parent, Provost Michael McDonald intervened and personally apologized. Soon afterwards Dr. Joe Brockington decided our parents would receive weekly updates, compensating for this lack of communication.

Although the CIP would acknowledge our stress, they lacked the comprehension of what we were experiencing. When Heenan replied with a page long e-mail regarding the CIP’s handling of the situation, she was responded with one sentence asking if she would like to see a counselor.

Please warmly welcome our friends back to campus.

How to Loan: Guided Tour from a Sophomore

By Emily Pizza, Opinions Editor

In case you were wondering, Kalamazoo College is far too expensive for an average family to pay for, including my own. With my scholarships, my parents have managed to cover tuition, but it became clear very quickly that room and board was up to me to cover.

Even though I spent the summer working two jobs, I still wasn’t even close to earning a quarters worth of room and board. Thus, I decided to apply for outside loans.

As much as I would like to say my experience was organized and thought out, turns out I didn’t have the slightest idea how to apply for loans.

First of all, don’t be uninformed like I was. Know that any federal loans you received should be used, because you will not find a better interest rate, I promise. Even if the loans don’t cover half of what you need, they will decrease the interest you have to pay in the long run.

After almost losing those loans and having to take out everything at an 8 percent interest rate, I can now say I truly appreciate them for all they are worth.

Another thing, start early. And by early, and I don’t mean a month before school starts. I applied at the start of August and my loans are still not set in stone yet. Trust me, the last thing you want to be doing is running out of Chemistry class to answer a call from your bank telling you they haven’t received your promissory note, even though you’ve sent it three times already.

Before applying for any loans, though, shop around. One of the biggest mistakes I made was almost getting a loan with a 9 percent interest rate because I thought it was the best I could do. Search through at least three different companies before making a final decision.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask an adult for help. As great as the internet is, oftentimes the information isn’t entirely true, go figure. After talking through my plan of action with my mom, I felt much calmer about everything.

Finally, don’t let loans stress you out (too much). If you are afraid of anything going wrong, call customer service (they are all pretty nice, for the most part), and let them help you find a solution. The worst that can happen is you spend a few minutes listening to some horrible elevator music, but who knows, maybe you’ll make it your new ringtone.