The chirps and squeaks of 12 baby chicks filled the second-floor hallway of the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center outside of the dean’s office.
The fluffy chicks, all less than a week old, were set up in a container with feed, water, bedding material and a heat lamp. They wandered around the container, chirping and squeaking.
Associate Dean Andrew McMichael brought 12 chicks to spend the day in Potter College Dean Larry Snyder’s office. The chicks served as an impromptu StressBuster, an event usually held during finals week in the Academic Commons, where students can unwind and spend some time with animals.
McMichael said he had just picked up the baby chicks for his backyard coop and decided it would be a good time to bring them in for students.
McMichael raises chickens and harvests their eggs, so he gets new baby chicks every so often.
“They’re egg-layers and will come back to my backyard after today’s event,” McMichael said.
Students need a little extra motivation to get through the last couple days before spring break, and some therapeutic time with baby chicks seemed to help quite a bit.
“It’s for the benefit of students to come in and just pet on some babies,” office associate Rita McGuire said.
Students, faculty and staff members alike filtered in and out of the office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to watch, pet and even hold the baby chicks. Many students simply wanted to admire the babies from a safe distance, though McGuire was there to instruct individuals on how to pick up and hold the chicks safely.
One student, freshman Alyssa Chan, was ecstatic about the opportunity to play with some baby chicks.
“With the stress of midterms and projects, chicks are here to lift our spirits and keep us going,” Chan said. “Usually I’d think about puppies or cats to destress, but we have the opportunity to hang out with chicks … that’s unique and totally awesome. I’m not passing up on that.”
The dean’s office remained bustling all day as word spread about the special visitors.
As people left the office, many remarked at how much less stressed they felt and what a difference a couple moments with the baby chicks made.
More photos and some chick-inspired student artwork can be found on the Potter College of Arts and Letters Facebook page.
Features reporter Julie Sisler can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow Julie on Twitter at @julie_sisler.