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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

The loud and proud ZonaZoo

Bill+Mason%2C+Cat+Tran+Driver%0A%0A%28Brown+hair%29%0A%0ADennis+Cady%2C+Cat+Tran+Driver%0A%0A%28black+and+white+striped+shirt%29%0A%0AAJ+Dowgiert%2C+Cat+Tran+Driver%0A%0A%28Plaid%2FCheckered+Shirt%29
Bill Mason, Cat Tran Driver (Brown hair) Dennis Cady, Cat Tran Driver (black and white striped shirt) AJ Dowgiert, Cat Tran Driver (Plaid/Checkered Shirt)

When the ZonaZoo recently released its 2015-2016 T-shirt, there was a new addition to the front side.

In clear, white font, the shirt reads, “Best Student Section In The Country.”

That’s a bold statement for the group to make, but the ZonaZoo can back it up. This past April, a growing organization called the National Collegiate Student Section Association tabbed ZonaZoo as the 2015 Student Section of the Year.

While the title may seem trivial to some, to those affiliated with the ZonaZoo it legitimized the group’s success.

And in June, when the NCSSA held a convention bringing together college student section leaders from across the country, the ZonaZoo’s model was shown off to other schools.

Inyene Udoinwang, executive director for ZonaZoo, was sent to represent the section.

“I was asked to present on ZonaZoo’s social media and how ZonaZoo Crew works, [and] everyone was impressed how simple yet effective everything we do is,” Udoinwang said.

From strong social media interaction to organizing events around campus, the ZonaZoo model served as an example on how to connect with college students.

The last part is key, given that a student section’s main role is to ensure students actually attend sporting events.

Like many other large colleges, the UA has, at times, had trouble filling up seats at football games as well as attracting students to smaller sports.

“Attendance at our main sporting events like football and men’s basketball has been good, but ensuring that we have consistent attendance at all of these games will be our biggest task,” said ZonaZoo marketing director Kayla Beck.

One of the ZonaZoo’s main ways to relate to students is through social media, where the student section has a strong following.

On Twitter for example, the ZonaZoo has over 32,000 followers, many of them not even Arizona students. ASU’s student section, the 942 Crew, has a mere 2,100 followers.

“Something we’re really focusing on is continuing to engage students at sporting events but [also] to engage them on a day-to-day basis,” Beck said. “Whether we are promoting our tailgate before a football game or asking them their opinions on our next big heads, we really want students to feel like this is their student section.”

The ZonaZoo also works regularly with Arizona Athletics to come up with new promotional ideas.

“Occasionally, [athletic director] Greg Byrne will pitch an idea, and we help him try and make it a reality,” Udoinwang said. “Good communication is important to us; it’s how we’re so successful.”

For UA students who have not yet purchased a ZonaZoo membership for the upcoming school year, prices range from a $110 “Blue” membership, which does not include basketball, to the $150 “Red” pass.

“There’s honestly nothing like being at Arizona Stadium or in McKale Center right before the game,” Udoinwang said. “The lights change, the music starts to play and the Zoo just erupts with this energy. You don’t even notice it, but you’re screaming just like everyone else and you’re ready to see this win.”

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