CSAP logo with 7 selfies of CSAP membersBeing a Cisco employee luckily comes with many amazing perks for all staff to use throughout the year. In particular, a Cisco favourite is our ‘Give Back Days – we receive 40 hours each year where we can shut the computer lid, turn off emails, and come together as a team to work on projects close to our hears, and most importantly; giving back to our local communities. (Cisco even gave us an additional 10 hours this year!) 

However, 2020 is indeed a strange year, and ‘every-day’ norms and conditions are quite different than what we are usually accustomed to. In the middle of a global pandemic, volunteering gets a little trickier! No longer is physically going outside as a group an option, nor shaking hands, meeting new people, and smiling together as a team. 

In 2020, volunteering efforts need be more creative and inspired, and that’s exactly the mantra that the Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP) APJC graduate class of FY20 stuck to! With physical, geographical borders imposed, we cast our search for virtual volunteering opportunities far and wide, settling our sights ‘Down Under’ in Australia to the Australian Museum. 

The Australian Museum, in partnership with DigoVol, provides a platform where volunteers can decipher museum collections, discover hidden archives, and contribute to knowledge and science on a domestic or global level, all by completing and transcribing simple tasks. 

Thus, with distance no longer a barrier, all nine CSAP volunteers across Asia came together and logged online, tilted back their chairs, got some snacks ready, and began our virtual Give Back Day! 

Traversing virtually through the labyrinth of the Australian museum archives, we found ourselves on expeditions for three tasks:  

1. Assisting world famous Sydney institution Taronga Zoo identify animals caught by camera speed traps to ensure a safe habitat for the Greater Bilby, an endangered Australian Marsupial.

2. Transcribing field notes written by University of Utah student Nowlan Kelly Dean from 1959. The transcription of this collection of field notes is invaluable for the biological community, and will be linked to actual specimens in the Natural History Museum of Utah, and online across the world.

3. Back to Australia, we banded together to count wildlife crossing through a Malleefowl mound for the NSW Government conservation efforts! This helps scientists understand how native and pest animals interact with malleefowl, and their nests.

By the end of the day, after resting our safari hats and seeing our fair share of hundreds of kangaroo species, we were able to complete a staggering 4,131 tasks/transcriptions, and completely finish the Taronga Zoo, and University of Utah expeditions for the museum. That’s quite an impact! 

Virtually volunteering for the Australian Museum was an amazing opportunity which allowed Cisconians to do what Cisconians do best – come together from different continents to collaborate and creatively contribute for a worthy cause while having fun! 


Ready to join our global teams (who love to give back)? Apply now. 

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