Civic Engagement Center - University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca

The Day of Human-Animal Interaction program (i.e. ZIOA in Romanian) is a Service-Learning event, which is organized every year on the first week of October at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, under the umbrella of World Animal Day ( The event is organized in collaboration with local and national agencies in the field of animal-assisted activities, animal protection and inclusive services for persons with special needs, as well as student organizations. Each ZIOA edition gathers together more than 100 student participants from the faculties of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (undergraduate level and master level, i.e. master’s degree Ethology and Human-Animal Interactions) and more than 2000 community members (with or without their companion animals).

The aim of this community-oriented program is to promote through students civic engagement the responsible ownership and to facilitate the development of favourable attitudes toward animals and nature, by fostering the connection with community members in a series of activities. These activities involve: free counselling on the management of human-animal interactions (One Health, One Welfare approach), therapeutic interactions with dogs and horses (i.e. reading for dogs, sensorial exploration of horses), educational workshops on adoption and rehabilitation of animals, agility exercises, free educational, workshops on the needs of companion animals (including exotic pets), campaigns for the adoption of stray animals and trap-neuter-return activities. ZIOA is highly mediatized (TV, radio, written media) and it is considered a brand of community-oriented events of Cluj-Napoca city. Students are expected to learn how to communicate with community partners (potential employers and/or collaborators), advocate for animal rights as sentient beings and design awareness campaigns and materials for promoting responsible ownership and optimal human-animal-environment interactions. The method of assessing students’ engagement consists in critical reflections on prosocial and civic attitudes, as well as in feedback from the community representatives.


  • Intervention: pre-event training of the students in community engagement practices (volunteering and Service-Learning), communication with the representatives of the community (NGOs in the field of animal protection, social veterinary medicine, wildlife conservation, institutions with animal-assisted activities and therapy programs, such as Special Education Schools, media representatives etc.), during and post-event reflections   (pictures, posts on the social media pages, feedback from the community representatives). 

Main focus *

Career development 

  • Career education through civic engagement (i.e. planned programmes and activities of learning through service, to help people to develop the skills necessary to manage their career and life pathway)
  • Finding and sustaining employment (i.e. programmes and activities to support individuals to progress towards or get into employment)

Coordination and cooperation

Processes, systems or organisational structures used to facilitate people or organisations working and coordinating their work or interventions together.



Community engagement of students through Service-Learning Day of Human-Animal Interaction