The People for Animal Wellness Society (PAWS) is one of the many clubs at Stevenson University that strives to create a bridge between students and the community. Its mission is “to educate Stevenson University students, faculty, and staff about the ethical treatment of animals and responsible pet ownership through various educational workshops, community service, and social events,” according to the Office of Student Activities. The club works closely with the Maryland SPCA as well as many other animal-centered organizations.
Recent growth has spurred the organization towards more fundraising, collaborating, volunteering and working at various local animal shelters.
Through various workshops, students and staff can get hands-on experience with animals.
Club member Kaya Roberts discussed the club’s purpose and involvement in further detail: “The club’s main focus is fundraising and serving different animal shelters. Each year the club choses a different organization to donate their funds to.”
Donations allow the club to expand its off-campus partnerships. “By donating our funds to local organizations, we have been able to get our name out there,” said Roberts.
This year, PAWS is donating to the Small Miracles Rescue Club located in Ellicott City, Md. Small Miracles Cat & Dog Rescue is a private, nonprofit shelter dedicated to providing the best possible care for homeless cats and dogs.
Club president Rachael Steelman is in charge of setting up all of the club’s fundraisers and campus events. “Rachael does a good job getting the club involved both off and on campus,” said Roberts.
This semester, the club already hosted a Fish Bingo event that had over 100 people in attendance. Those who participated had the chance to win a free goldfish or Beta fish, said Roberts.
A different breed of activity, to be held on Nov. 10 and Dec. 6, will be the sponsorship of dogs on campus at its popular Downtime with Dogs event. From 12:30 until 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 10, and from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, the PAWS club will be set up in the TV room of the Ratcliffe Community Center with furry pets to help eliminate stress and anxiety as finals approach.
The club continues to grow, with a current email list of between 200-300 members.
PAWS will hold a conference on campus next semester involving career professionals engaged in the animal world. By attending the event, interested students can learn more about the club’s involvement in the community as well as network with local businesses.