With final exams just around the corner, UF students already experience sleepless nights, binge-drink coffee, and slowly lose the will to maintain their GPAs. To combat student stress, Gator Well and the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) have initiated a new program.
From now on, the Yappy Hour, where students may pet service dogs and puppies, has been replaced with the Gator Motivator, giving students the opportunity to cuddle with real alligators.
“We thought that, if students felt a stronger connection to their mascot, they would gain some form of solidarity during their exam days,” CWC representative Margaret Steinman said.
Similar to other programs that bring rescue dogs from the pound as a service to the canines, the alligators brought will be rescues from people’s pools. If students fall for their gator, they can sign adoption papers on the spot to give these wonderful creatures a new home, though some students have experienced difficulties with keeping alligators as pets.
“When I found out my RA wouldn’t let me keep an alligator, I was so mad. They seem like such easy pets to take care of — they only eat, like, twice a week,” freshman Brad Billford said.
Some of the eggs hatched by rescues have been very popular with students.
“The gnawing that the little ones do on my fingers makes me giggle! It is so cute to think that, when they are full grown, their bite force will be equivalent to dropping a small truck,” sophomore Samantha Porst said.
Some parents have voiced their concerns about the University condoning students getting close to reptilian beasts that have existed for 80 million years. However, the CWC has taken all the necessary precautions to eliminate unwanted interactions.
“There’s nothing to worry about. Through trial and error, we learned to feed the alligators before they meet the students. Besides, Shands is right down the block,” Steinman said.
Undoubtedly, students may feel stressed. School is tough. But the University supports everyone through their exams, with programs like this one acting as the first line of defense against stress. Just remember not to sit on the alligators and attempt to ride them like horses. They don’t like that.
This is a satire. The Prism staff loves and supports the idea of a yappy hour — any Prism staff member that hates puppies is promptly dismissed.
Illustration by Padmini Muraletharen