Students’ team building project chosen by Chester Zoo.

Posted on 1st April 2014

Two students from the University of Chester have won the opportunity to develop a team building project at Chester Zoo, which will help large organisations to consider their corporate social responsibility.

The winning students are presented with their prizes from the management team from Chester Zoo. (L-r Dominic Strange, Business Operations Manager, students- Zuzana Mihalikova and Karolina Souckova, Jamie Christon, Managing Director and Caroline Sanger-Davies, Head of Marketing).
The winning students are presented with their prizes from the management team from Chester Zoo. (L-r Dominic Strange, Business Operations Manager, students- Zuzana Mihalikova and Karolina Souckova, Jamie Christon, Managing Director and Caroline Sanger-Davies, Head of Marketing).
Encouraging businesses to look at the impact they have on the environment and how that directly relates to the status of animals in the wild was a project that completely appealed to us and aligned itself nicely with the Zoo’s activities. Zo-operate is an impressive and worthwhile project and the students’ efforts and creativity should be rightly applauded.
Jamie Christon, Managing Director of Chester Zoo.

The ‘Zo-operate’ team building day idea, formulated by Karolina Souckova and Zuzana Mihalikova, Tourism Management students, both aged 20, was selected by senior management at Chester Zoo after University of Chester Business School students were asked to develop ideas for a new corporate activity for visitors.

If implemented, ‘Zo-operate’ will encourage large businesses, which already incorporate a sense of corporate social responsibility (CSR,) to consider how they could develop their efforts further.

Zuzana explained: “We wanted to do something which met the ethos of the Zoo and we felt strongly about encouraging organisations to think about their own corporate social responsibility.

We came up with an idea for a team building day which would explore the direct and indirect impacts that are threatening certain animals in the wild, and encourage corporations to link the findings to the business – for example, what changes within the business can be made to reduce the impact on the environment and what can be done differently to lower the threat to the animal?

“We were thrilled to receive such positive feedback about our presentation and were so happy when we were told that our idea had been chosen.”

As well as having the opportunity to collaborate with the Zoo and put their project into action, Karolina and Zuzana have also won the chance to gain work experience in the Zoo’s Marketing Department.

Jamie Christon, Managing Director of Chester Zoo added: “Encouraging businesses to look at the impact they have on the environment and how that directly relates to the status of animals in the wild was a project that completely appealed to us and aligned itself nicely with the Zoo’s activities.  Zo-operate is an impressive and worthwhile project and the students’ efforts and creativity should be rightly applauded.”

Jane Martin, Programme Leader for the University’s Marketing degree programmes said: "We have been incredibly proud of the level of creativity and professionalism from our students at such an early stage in their academic career. It was a fantastic experience for both staff and students and we would like to congratulate the winning team on an excellent pitch." 

Tom Wright, 19, who studies Marketing, also impressed the panel and was singled out as the most outstanding individual performer on the day of the final presentations. He has been invited to spend the day work-shadowing Mr Christon.