Students hop to SAC to play with, learn about rabbits at Bunny EDU Day

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Computer science junior Abhi Ilindra takes a photo of one of the bunnies at the third annual Bunny EDU Day hosted by Chi Kappa Phi. The free event promoted responsible adoption of rabbits.
Photo Credit: Zoe Fu | Daily Texan Staff

Chi Kappa Phi Service Society hosted its third annual Bunny EDU Day on Tuesday afternoon to educate students about responsible bunny adoption and to socialize rabbits from a shelter.

This event is hosted in partnership with the House Rabbit Resource Network (HRRN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of domestic rabbits. Each year, HRRN brings rabbits from their shelter to campus for students to pet and hold as they learn about the animals.

HRRN adoption coordinator Lori Helgren said many rabbits at the shelter are unwanted pets abandoned by owners who could not fulfill the responsibilities of rabbit ownership. Helgren said she hopes if people are educated about the work and time commitment necessary to care for these animals, they will put more thought into the decision to adopt.

“You don’t grab an animal at a pet store the way you pick up a magazine in the checkout line,” Helgren said.

The goal of the event is not to discourage people from having pet bunnies altogether, but rather to promote the responsible adoption of rabbits from shelters. The event also serves as an opportunity for the rabbits to exercise and socialize with people ­— something the shelter can’t frequently facilitate. This interaction is important because it makes the rabbits more sociable, and thus more likely to be adopted.

Radio-television-film junior Lauren Keithley, who attended Bunny EDU Day, said this event might prevent students who miss pets left at home from adopting irresponsibly.

“I think that by going to this event, people who are thinking about adopting can understand whether they have the capacity to do so,” Keithley said.

The project was suggested three years ago by current Chi Kappa Phi president Mackenzie Mitchell, who went to the shelter to adopt a rabbit but decided to volunteer there after realizing she didn’t know enough about bunnies to be an adequate caretaker. Mitchell said the event started as a fun, relaxing time for students to spend with bunnies, but the focus has since shifted to education about the wellbeing of the animals.

“For Chi Kappa Phi, philanthropy means being willing to open your heart and your hands to see what your community needs and doing your best to fulfill that,” Mitchell said. “We have located a group that we’re happy to work with and whose goals align with our passions, interests and abilities, so we’re going to do our best to promote them.”