Student Participation Rate in Project Week High Despite COVID-19 Challenges
Putting Apeldoorn’s beautiful, green zoo Apenheul in the spotlight, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences bachelor's students did their Project Week activities entirely online for the first time. Apenheul, which houses 35 different species of primates, welcomes more than 500,000 visitors from all over the world annually, but is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The director of Apenheul, Roel Welsing, was the guest speaker for this Project Week and addressed students by video link. He said the challenge is to raise funds to make the park more sustainable and invest in its educational impact. He pointed out the differences between fundraising and sponsoring and how each one targets different audiences. He challenged students to develop a different strategy for both initiatives.
Both coordinators for Project Week, Lucy Omwoha and Samantha Birdsall, said they have had good participation rates from students despite challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Omwoha said in some cases students are stuck in their home countries and have to deal with different time zones and patchy internet connections. She is responsible for Phase 2 students, while Birdsall assists those in Phase 1 through their Project Week activities.
"With kick-off there were some students who were unable to attend, but in the meantime we have had a 100% participation rate," said Omwoha. While Phase 1 students are developing a fundraising strategy, Phase 2 students are looking at a suitable sponsorship strategy. In addition, students have to do an assignment where they discuss the ethics and current debate about animals in captivity.
There is also a fun game developed by Apenheul where students can take a quiz to find out which primate their personality is most comparable with. "At first, students thought it was silly, but once they got into it, it was a lot of fun," Omwoha said.
At the end of the Project Week, it is up to Welsing to look at the presentations made by the different groups and choose the strategy that best matches the organisation.
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press