Sorority Omega Phi Alpha and fraternity Kappa Sigma joined forces this week in the Union Oval to take donations in exchange for playtime with some furry friends. Faculty and students lent their dogs for the afternoon in support of military veterans.
Omega Phi Alpha and Kappa Sigma host Kisses for a Cause every year. For $1 students were able to spend time with the dogs while taking pictures on their own phone, and for $3 students were able to get a polaroid picture taken with them.
“Kisses for a Cause is an event that raises money for Military Heroes and Pets for Vets, but it is designed for students as well. Without them, we wouldn’t have such a successful event, and for that we are very grateful,” said Kaitlyn Whittaker, an Omega Phi Alpha member who is also the sorority’s Philanthropy Chair. “Dogs make us feel better even when we are having the worst day. They love us unconditionally, and they see the good in us, even if they don’t know us.”
Proceeds for this event go to Pets for Vets and Kappa Sigma Philanthropy Military Heroes. Both programs help veterans return from active duty in hopes of rehabilitation and getting back to the normalcy of civilian life. Specifically, Pets for Vets is an organization that pairs rescue animals with military veterans for therapeutic rehabilitation for the veterans and second chances for the animals.
Research done at Purdue University showed veterans who owned pets and who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder were psychologically, socially and physically healthier than those who were not owners of pets at all.
While benefiting these organizations, Kisses for a Cause serves students and faculty as well.
“I really enjoy the puppies being on campus because it allows me to take time out of my day to relax and ease my mind. Also, getting to play with them reminds me of my own dog who I really miss, so it helps to deal with some of the homesickness. But overall, I just love puppies and spending time with them,” freshman Nicole Picciano said.
A University of Maine study stated college students are proven to be less overwhelmed and more positive and relaxed when being able to interact with animals, specifically domestic animals.
Nandika Talwar, an Omega Phi Alpha member, shared her experience with her first Kisses for a Cause event.
“We are spreading positive vibes and happiness through campus, and it’s also a good stress reliever for students,” Talwar said. “It takes your mind off of classes while giving money to a good cause, which is even better.”