By: Ashley de Sampaio Ferraz, Contributing Writer
Featured image courtesy of @TU_Homecoming
Students were able to meet some new furry friends Wednesday at “Doc’s Animal Crossing,” a petting zoo provided by Towson’s 2018 homecoming committee.
The name of the event, which was inspired by the popular video game, highlights the “Game On!” theme of this year’s homecoming events.
Kaitlyn Insinna, a Towson senior, is a member of the homecoming committee. She spoke about how the committee decided to provide the petting zoo this year because of how much students have enjoyed it in previous years. Insinna also noted that events such as these seem necessary when students are enduring their busiest schedules mid-semester.
“It’s a good way to chill out on your way to class,” Insinna said.
Insinna was correct about animals having calming effects. According to petcoach.com, animals can provide psychological, emotional, and even social benefits for their human counterparts. They can also help reduce anxiety and decrease feelings of loneliness.
The animals at this petting zoo seemed to have positive effects on those who came. Students walked around and engaged with the different animals, some cooing over the baby chicks, while others patted bunnies. Some students even took selfies with the zoo’s llama.
Aris Hines, a Towson senior and the director of the event, spoke about the importance of incorporating the petting zoo into homecoming week.
“We’ve done this every homecoming week for the past three years,” Hines said. “We always include this event because the students really love it, and it’s a good way to de-stress after midterm season.”
Hines also shared how the committee went about organizing the event. He said they first contacted vendors and then focused on how they could readjust from last year. The same vendor ended up being used, making the process much smoother.
Brendon Kline, owner of Party Animalz Farm, the company that provided the petting zoo, spoke about the business and the life of his animals.
“We have a farm in Pennsylvania that’s ten acres, a four-story barn to keep them all in,” Kline said.
According to Kline, Party Animalz Farm attends many events, but they only visit four to eight colleges a year. Kline shared that he enjoys these events in particular, as they are opportunities to take students’ minds off the pressure of academics and give them a chance to see animals that they might not normally see in a college setting.
Kline shared that his favorite animal is the llama, named Snowflake, which the company named due to the animal’s soft white coat. Kline also gave his perspective on whether the animals benefit from being included in a petting zoo such as this. In his opinion, the petting zoo is quite good for animals, as being desensitized to human touch is a helpful trait to have when they are looking to be rehomed.
Holly Adelhardt, a Towson sophomore, said she enjoyed petting and spending time with the animals.
“The bunnies are my favorite,” Adelhardt said, “I was worrying about a test I have coming up, but this has taken my mind off of it for a bit and given me a chance to relax.”
The remainder of Towson’s homecoming week included other activities for students to participate in, from the “Dance the Madness” dance competition put on by TU’s Greek life, to the homecoming pageant and game. These events also served as a way for students to take a break from their students and de-stress, as they cross over towards the end of the semester.