It is not just dogs that have a therapeutic effect on humans. Studies have shown that other pets such as fish improve mental wellbeing, as well as lower patients' heart rates and lowered their blood pressure. This can be hugely beneficial to college students that don't get enough sleep. People who do own pets are also less likely to become obese. This is due to the fact that pet owners are more likely to exercise when taking their animals on walks or out to get fresh air, which is exercise they may not be getting otherwise.
Not only does owning a pet improve your mental health it also improves your social life. People who are often too shy to make conversation on their own will benefit from having a pet when they go out in public. Especially with dogs, people always go up to others with dogs and ask to pet them and ask what their pet's name is. This often leads to further conversation and most are less awkward and stressed when an animal is involved. Especially in the case of dorms, introverted people who are less likely to go out and make friends will have people stopping by their dorm to see their pet which will allow them to have some healthy socialization.
Many colleges including Eckerd College and Washington and Jefferson University have specific pet designated dorms. This way students who don't want to live among animals or who have allergies aren't forced to be around them. However, most people love animals, and some students may not have the time or money to own a pet. For these students, it would be beneficial to have other animals around in the dorm to be able to interact and play with.
Some people also say it's too difficult to have an animal while in college, but unlike high school, there is more free time between classes and students are typically in class for less hours per day. Also, in college most people don't have after school sports or activities which also gives college students more free time that could be spent with pets.
Not everybody agrees that there should be pets in dorms and that is ok. Healthy discussion as well as a well thought out plan to include pets in specific dorms would be in place.
Owning or fostering a pet would allow students to gain a sense of responsibility. Pets do require some attention but they also give lots of love and attention back. Students are more likely to return to their dorm at a reasonable hour and keep the space clean for the pet than if they are just returning to a messy room to be alone. After having a bad day in class most students would love to return home to a cute loving animal getting them at the door or from their cage.