Katie Schulzetenberg-

With the holidays approaching, it can be tough to be away from home. Luckily, homesick students had a little break from the stress. Therapy dogs excitedly met with students at the entrance of the University of WisconsinStout library on the afternoon of Nov. 13. The therapy dogs typically only visit campus around the time of midterms and finals, but they made an exception for the library’s Home Away from Home week.

In addition to the therapy dogs, the counseling center also had Wellness Pros available at the library to talk. Wellness Pros are counselors who are available whenever the therapy dogs visit at the library.

“We are just trying to bring awareness that homesickness is a normal thing that students get, especially when it’s their first time being away from home. We want them to know that there are people that can help them and that they are not alone in this,” said Zoie Urness, Wellness Pro. When students come seeking advice for their homesickness or other issues, Wellness Pros often refer them to the counseling center.

“We offer presentations on stress management, alcohol and drug use, relationship issues and health and wellness. The counseling center offers the Zen Zone, light therapy, CDs and books to help you relax, and our counselors offer free individual and couples therapy to Stout students,” said Wellness Pro Brittany Zavala.  In the past, Wellness Pros have given out stress balls to students who have come to talk. 

Besides the Wellness Pros and the therapy dogs, the Home Away from Home week included the Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday, Nov. 14, free milk and cookies in the library on Thursday, Nov. 16  and a movie night screening Dunkirk in Applied Arts. With the help of the therapy dogs and the many other counseling resources offered at UW–Stout, homesick students hopefully felt a bit closer to home.

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