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Pictured are Point Park SAEM students hosting the

When have you last been to the zoo?

Attracting more college students to the zoo was the idea behind "Zoo U," a collaborative event co-hosted by the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and Point Park University's event management classes in the sports, arts, and entertainment management program.

"Zoo U" brought in more than 300 college students and featured live bands and activities such as sumo wrestling, football toss, hockey slap shots, and body painting. Event attendees also met with zookeepers and had the chance to win a behind-the-scenes tour of the Zoo.

"We were excited about the opportunity to work with Point Park and their SAEM program," said Connie George, director of marketing for The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. "Just working with the students to create and promote Zoo U was a helpful exercise in marketing strategy. It was a win-win situation for both organizations."

According to SAEM instructors Ed Traversari and Teresa Gregory, this was a great opportunity for students taking the event management course to get real-life experience producing their own event.

"The Zoo U event at the Pittsburgh Zoo was a success and a great learning experience for our event management classes. The students, who were in charge of planning the event and doing all the advance work, were finally able to see their efforts come to fruition at the actual event," said Traversari.

"The best way to really see what it takes to put on an event is by putting one on yourself," said Max Kovalchuk, a junior SAEM major who plans to pursue a career in artist management. Also, performing in a band has helped me learn things SAEM-related because I get to see how things operate on the band side of things too."

According to SAEM junior Julia Wagner, Zoo U was a great opportunity to get insight on working with a real budget and a very prominent client and venue. "Working with other students in my major, who will eventually be my peers and colleagues in the workforce, helped to better prepare me for my future goals of working in the entertainment industry. Regardless of the company or organization I may work with, I now have more skills and experience to bring to the table," remarked Wagner.

News coverage in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Zoo U: A day planned for students by students"

SAEM program and The Pittsburgh Zoo host "Zoo U"

More About: sports, arts and entertainment management, student trips, Rowland School of Business