BERKELEY, Calif. — In recent years, the College of Letters & Sciences has ramped up its advising capabilities by holding events where students can connect with petting zoo animals at least once a semester. Careful tracking of student participation in these events has yielded impressive results. It is estimated that students who attended such sessions were twice as likely to be accepted into a graduate school program.
“It is truly remarkable how funneling department money into our Animals budget has improved the academic success of students in the college,” L&S Executive Dean Janet Broughton boasted. “To be honest, hiring this furry brigade was cheaper than expanding our staff to meet the needs of the students, but the results speak for themselves.”
This program has been supported by not only the staff, but by the student body as well. Angie Larkin, a fourth year sociology major, was stunned upon meeting her Letters & Science advisor for the first time since coming to Cal, but quickly warmed up to the idea.
“I started to think something was up when I was directed to a waiting room that smelled like feces, alfalfa, and dryer lint, but I really had no clue who Al was,” Larkin remarked. “I mean, I just never guessed that Al Paca was an… alpaca. I never would have expected to be attending Harvard in the fall, and I have Al to thank for that.”
Despite widespread support from the campus community, the initiative to employ these wooly wonders has sparked controversy, particularly from advocacy groups at the intersection of workers rights and animal rights. The Berkeley Marxist Coalition has prioritized this new labor force on their agenda.
“The employment of these animals as wage slaves to the institutional machine represents one of the biggest failures of campus hegemony,” representative Faery Madden began at the club’s weekly meeting. “We’ve all read Animal Farm, right? We know how that ends.”
While matching students with petting zoo animals has been a contested process, the boost in admissions have been reason enough for L&S Advising to expand the program. It’s clear that dedicating department money to rent farm animals has benefitted the campus community in ways that accessible advising could never provide. Leaks from schools across the nation have reported plans to start similar programs on their campuses, once again reinforcing the innovative spirit of UC Berkeley.