Rowan College of South Jersey’s (RCSJ) Alpha Beta Gamma (ABG)
Honor Society – Gamma Phi Chapter partnered with the Center for Counseling and
Wellness Services to host “PAWS for People” on Thursday, Dec. 5, for a holiday
Five highly-trained and certified four-legged friends, and
one bunny, joined students and faculty in the lobby of the Business and Corporate
Center to give students a break from school stress by interacting with the
animals. Pet Therapy has been scientifically
proven to aide in alleviating stress with significant benefits, both physically
and mentally. The most common benefits
include providing comfort, lowering blood pressure, decreased anxiety and improving
cardiovascular health. Dr. Lois Lawson-Briddell,
director of the Center for Counseling and Wellness Services, worked with Business
Instructor Danielle Morganti, and members of the ABG Honor Society, to make the
“We really wanted to inform people about the business program
here at RCSJ, along with our honor society, and the Center,” said Natalia
Berardelli, a business student and ABG member.
“Holding it here provides students and faculty with a moment to
decompress, while also learning more about the business major, our
business-oriented honor society and what the Center for Counseling and Wellness
As final exams and the end of the semester approach, students
visited the Business and Corporate Center to de-stress with the animals and
chat with their handlers. Everyone in
attendance had a chance to play with the friendly pets, and hold the bunny as
well. Lucy, a RCSJ game design student,
commutes to the College from Cherry Hill.
As she sat petting Rex, a 9-year-old German Shepherd, she talked about
puppies, stress and school.
“It really helps a lot honestly. Coming here gave me a
chance to take my mind off of everything I have going on with finals and school,
and really reduced my stress — even for a little bit,” she said. Other students
gathered around Rex, agreed, even stating that they had been looking forward to
“We wanted to provide therapy to our College’s students with
some of our business students here to help assist, while also bringing
awareness about the services that are available to students at the Center for
Counseling and Wellness Service,” said Lawson-Briddell, who was excited to meet
the animals and talk to students about the Wellness Center.
One of the pets, Bella, a youthful 11-year-old Yorkie, plays
an especially important role for her owner, Desiree. Desiree, a RCSJ student, is aspiring to
become a veterinarian and has a medical condition that comes with a variety of
side effects, one of which being seizures.
Bella, a trained service dog, has been with Desiree her entire life and
is trained to bark when she senses that she is going to have a seizure.
“Having Bella is nice because she helps others understand
that not all service dogs have to be big, and she breaks the ice in class with
other students,” said Desiree, who recalled a time when Bella indicated that
she sensed something unusual just hours before she had a seizure.
The Center for Counseling and Wellness Services encourages
students during stressful times in their academic, personal or professional
lives to visit the Wellness Center so that they can develop effective coping
strategies. All services provided to
currently enrolled students are free, private and confidential.
For more information about counseling services, visit
RCSJ.edu/gc/CWS, call 856-464-5236, or email [email protected].
The ABG Honor Society is an international business society
established at two-year colleges to encourage and recognize scholarship among
students studying in the field. The ABG
Honor Society is open to RCSJ students in the Business Studies Division.
Donations raised by the honor society event benefit PAWS for People, a