Students gather around a llama.

Llamas Bring Joy to UCSF

Monday, September 12, 2022

How does even a short stint relaxing with some llamas help trainees and staff reduce stress?

I spoke with Jennifer Mannix, Assistant Director of Wellness and Community at UCSF, and she collected comments from llama trainees at the May 11 event. Their comments provide great insight to llama therapy and stress relief.

Kie Shidar, First Year in the School of Institute for Global Health Sciences

“It is different. I have never been this close to llamas. It is a good break since it’s in the middle of the day and the middle of the week. I got to learn a little bit about llamas from Geo, the llama caregiver. Fun times all around.”

Sydney Williams llama handler volunteered, First Year in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics (PSPG)

“I love the socializing and I got to meet the people and see them smile with the llamas. I like watching how much it changes the people’s mood and I have heard from several people that it has uplifted their spirits. Getting the chance to stand next to the llamas and become best friends with them is like once in a lifetime.”

Jack Han, Second Year in the School of Dentistry

“I honestly didn’t like it. I loved it! I was expecting there to be only one llama, but to my surprise I got to meet four llamas today. I was lucky enough to kiss one of them and it was love at first site. I am grateful that UCSF gives these special once in a lifetime opportunity to better my wellness and happiness.”

This year we had not one but two visit days with the llamas on April 27 and May 11, which brought smiles and joy to approximately 350 students, staff, and faculty.

How did this extremely popular event get started at UCSF, and where do the llamas come from? The visits were part of Campus Life Services’ Wellness & Community’s Recess Time, a program designed to bring the UCSF community together to socialize around a variety of onsite activities such as live music, Connect 4, giant Jenga, cornhole, chess, checkers and dominos. The suggestion for onsite activities came from the Chancellor’s Cabinet.

Campus Life Services Wellness & Community and the UC San Francisco Graduate & Professional Student Association recently partnered to bring llamas to Mission Bay.

Learn more about the llamas by visiting Llamas of Circle Home.