Happiness Hop: Eastern Michigan University students shed the stress as they hang out with cuddly bunnies

Students at Happiness Hop bunny-petting event.
More than 80 students showed up for the Happiness Hop event to pet Flurry, a snowy white rabbit and Urszula, a black and white cutie, in their laps. (Photos by Geoff Larcom)
A student petting a white rabbit.
Future Happiness Hop events are scheduled for Oct. 23, Nov. 11 and Dec. 9.  

YPSILANTI – We figure you’ll cotton to this tale, of how dozens of Eastern Michigan Students enjoyed the furry comfort and serenity of petting a pair of bunnies recently at the EMU Student Center.

“Feeling stressed? Come hang out with our fluffy friends, Urszula and Flurry!” read the flyer announcing the event, held Wednesday, Sept. 25 in Room 250 of the Student Center.

Happiness Hop, staged by the EMU Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility, was patterned after the popular monthly Wellness Woof events. The Wellness Woof program brings licensed therapy dogs from Therapaws to connect with EMU community members throughout the academic year.

Dr. Amy Shell-Gellasch, who teaches in the EMU Department of Math and Statistics, saw how students related to those events and offered a suggestion: How about I bring in my two rabbits for students to enjoy?

Flurry and Urszula are domesticated rabbits from Europe, Shell-Gellasch explained, different from the wild cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares who live in Michigan and who we often see scurrying through our neighborhoods.

More than 80 students showed up, many petting Flurry, a snowy white rabbit and Urszula, a black and white cutie, in their laps. The result? Lots of relaxed students, some fun conversations, a mellow vibe and plenty of nose twitching by the snuggly bunnies.

The crowd included EMU student Jazmin Gonzalez, who “simply loves rabbits,” and held Urszula in a comfortable chair while flashing a contented smile.

“I was overwhelmed by how many students came and how excited they were to be with the bunnies,” Shell-Gellasch said. “It made my day. I may have to get more bunnies!”

Indeed, the crowd filled the room and at times stretched down the hall from Room 250.

After such interest, it’s hoped students will scamper on down to future Happiness Hops, scheduled for Oct. 23, Nov. 11 and Dec. 9.  

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

October 02, 2019

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom