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Students Enjoy the Calming Ways of Alpacas

September, 2018
  • QCC student Nichole Halbert gets to know "Star,'' a 2 and a half year old alpaca.
    QCC student Nichole Halbert gets to know "Star,'' a 2 and a half year old alpaca.
  • QCC student Andy Phan makes a new friend on his way to class.
    QCC student Andy Phan makes a new friend on his way to class.
  • From left: "Millie" and "Star' of Angel Hair Alpacas, visit QCC.
    From left: "Millie" and "Star' of Angel Hair Alpacas, visit QCC.
  • QCC students enjoy a moment with "Star."
    QCC students enjoy a moment with "Star."
  • Cheryl Pike, of QCC's Student Life helps with "Star" during a visit to campus by Angel Hair Alpacas of Grafton.
    QCC staff member Cheryl Pike, of Student Life, helps with "Star" during a visit to campus by Angel Hair Alpacas of Grafton.

Two furry friend alpacas with doe eyes and a gentle demeanor visited Quinsigamond Community College’s main campus earlier this month, bringing a bit of happiness and a lot of smiles to the faces of students, faculty and staff. The Angel Hair Alpacas have become a staple at QCC, often visiting during the start of a semester and during exam times. Owned by Jay Cohen and Maureen Agley, of Angel Hair Alpacas of North Grafton, “Star” and “Millie,” although young (Star is 2 ½ and Millie is 1  ½) these two are already well-season show veterans and have been around people since they were three months old.

The alpacas were brought on campus through Disability Services which hosts numerous events throughout the year that offer ways for students to deal with some of their stress during peak stress times such as during exams. Mr. Cohen, whose son Jamie attends QCC, said there is always a positive response to the alpacas.

“They’re very sweet and expressive. They’re nice animals and I think people take to them,” he said.

According to Mr. Cohen, alpacas stay relatively small; weighing under 200 lbs. They are vegetarians mainly eat grass. Alpaca is a species of South American camelid, similar to, and sometimes confused with the llama.

Nichole Halbert was one of the many students who came out to visit with the alpacas. Ms. Halbert is in the college’s Phlebotomy/EKG Technician Certificate program. She said this was her first semester, after deciding to go back to college after 10 years.

“I look at other colleges but they didn’t have the support I needed,” she said, adding, “I feel loved here.”

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