SUNY Canton Pet Wing Featured on ‘Inside Higher Ed’ Website


SUNY Canton has received national media attention for being one of a select group of colleges that allow pets to live with students on campus.

The article appeared on “Inside Higher Ed,” a national news website with approximately 3 million monthly readers. It highlights the college’s Pet Wing, which began in 1997 and remains one of the most popular housing options.

Zero the cat has some play time in the common area of SUNY Canton’s Pet Wing.

According to the report, many pet-friendly schools have seen an uptick in demand for animal accommodations in the wake of COVID, and pets have contributed to improving student mental health.

“At the height of the pandemic last year, I think a lot of students who were lonely on campus were taking some or all of their classes remotely, and there wasn’t much going on socially on campus,” said SUNY Canton Director of Residence Life John Kennedy in the article. “So I think it was really helpful to have a nonhuman roommate with them.”

Viktoria and her pet gerbil, Muffin.

SUNY Canton students Viktoria Pierre, Taylor Cady and Austin Jones currently reside in the Pet Wing and  talked about how their companions contribute to their well-being.

Pierre, who has two betta fish and a hamster named Muffin, said her animal roommates bring her comfort.

“Sometimes when you’re here, you’re away from home and you feel kind of disconnected from people,” Pierre said in the article. “But when you have a little pet with you it just makes you feel like, ‘I’m not alone.’”

Cady, who lives with her cat, Hemlock, and Jones, who lives with his cat, Pumpkin, echoed the same sentiment.

Taylor sits on her bed with pet cat, Hemlock (Hemmy).

“Just being around him makes me very happy,” Cady said about Hemlock. “His mannerisms and everything that he does makes me happy and helps me feel better whenever I’m down.”

The college also allows emotional support or service animals on campus, but they are housed in other residence halls. Students are required to meet the appropriate training and licensing requirements to be approved.

The Pet Wing currently houses 104 students and 56 pets, which include cats, sugar gliders, hamsters, rabbits, ferrets, fish, rats and mice. The college has previously been recognized by numerous organizations, most recently by, as being among the most pet-friendly schools in the nation.

About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.