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O Heroes to Team Up with Green Hill, Special Olympics
Release Date: 11/01/2012
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For the complete release with full notes, contact info, etc., view the PDF version

EUGENE, Ore. --
O Heroes has two of its signature annual service events of the Fall Quarter coming up in early November. O Heroes has organized Animal Shelter Day which will be at Greenhill Humane Society on Sunday, Nov. 4. UO student-athletes will then team up with Special Olympics Oregon to host the third annual Bowling Night on Monday, Nov. 12.

Animal Shelter Day, which runs from approximately 12-2 p.m., starts off the weekly service partnership for O Heroes volunteers at Greenhill. Several UO student-athletes spend time on a weekly basis at Greenhill, where volunteers help walk, run and play with the animals in an effort to help make them more adoptable.

The Bowling Night event will take place at Emerald Lanes and is scheduled to run from 4-5:30 p.m. The teams will be made up of 40 UO student-athletes and 90 athletes from Special Olympics Oregon.

The Thanksgiving Basket Drive is underway and runs through Saturday, Nov. 17. O Heroes -- in conjunction with St. Vincent de Paul -- aims to collect 50 food baskets to distribute to families. To contribute contact Judy Sheldon ( / 541.346.5740).


Throughout the year, O Heroes will assist with several one-time service requests. Student-athletes from many different sports programs are called into action to work as volunteers. Below are a pair of upcoming service events on the calendar:

Sunday, Nov. 4: UO student-athletes will put up holiday decorations in the pediatric unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

Friday, Nov. 9:
Junction City’s Oaklea Elementary will tour UO’s facilities following a trip to the Science Factory. UO student-athletes have volunteered as tour guides for the youth of Oaklea Elementary which is scheduled for walk-throughs of the Casanova Center, Moshofsky Center and Autzen Stadium.


O Heroes is getting behind a new philanthropic initiative, Support Sport, with the purpose to promote global female participation in athletics. O Heroes is asking the Eugene/Springfield community to donate sports bras which will be collected and sent specifically to West Ambrym in the Pacific Islands.

The sports bra drive is ongoing and ends on Monday, Nov. 26. Donations can come in the form of a sports bra – either new or lightly worn – or as a gift card (from a local department store) which will be used to purchase new sport bras.

The donation center is at the John E. Jaqua Center for Student Athletes which is located on UO’s campus at the corner of Agate and 13th.

The Support Sport donation drive was created by Brooke Strawn, a freshman forward on the Oregon women’s soccer team. Strawn is working in conjunction with her sister, Kirsten Strawn, who is an Oregon alumni and current Peace Corp member.

After hearing of her sister’s Peace Corp experiences in the Pacific Islands, Brooke Strawn approached O Heroes with this idea to help the women of West Ambrym.

Each week O Heroes sits down with one of our student-athletes to get to know more about them on and off the field. The selections are made by O Heroes student directors Maggie Kovacs (LAX) and Lauren Plum (VB).

This week’s feature is on Maddy Mercier, a 5-7 senior defender on UO women’s soccer team.

Mercier is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Human Physiology (Pre-Med). Her presence in the classroom and on the field is matched by her extraordinary involvement within the Eugene-Springfield community through her commitment to O Heroes. Even with her demanding schedule, Mercier excels as an O Hero.

Among many other O Heroes projects that she has volunteered for, Mercier worked especially close with the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Valley on the remodel of the “O Heroes room”. This past summer, Mercier joined 20 fellow student-athletes for the Courts for Kids service trip to the Dominican Republic where she worked to build a sport court for the community.

Post-graduation, Maddy plans to move to Seattle, attend medical school and continuing her passion for working with kids and volunteering at local hospitals.

On the pitch, Mercier has played in 53 matches throughout her career for the Ducks, recording a total of eight points off of four goals. Her three goals in 2011 ranked fourth on the team, and two of those goals were game-winners. Mercier was an all-academic team honoree as a sophomore in 2010 and a Pac-12 All-Academic Team honoree as a junior in 2011.


The following is a list of student-athletes who have been recognized as Hero of the Week during the 2012-13 seasons:

Ashley Inman (LAX) - Sept. 27
Grant Thompson (FB) - Oct. 11
Maddy Mercier (WSOC) - Oct. 25


Last year, O Heroes began profiling student-athletes who were particularly active in serving the community. The following is a list of student-athletes who were recognized as Hero of the Week during the 2011-12 seasons:

• Jessica Drummond (LAX) - Jan. 24
Amanda Johnson (WBB) - Feb. 1
James Scales (FB) - Feb. 6
Michael Clay (FB) - Feb. 15
Chynna Miley (WBB) - Feb. 23
Alaina Bergsma (VB) - March 1
Boseko Lokombo (FB) - March 7
Erin Block (A&T) - April 18
Trudie du Toit (WTEN) - April 25
Kenjon Barner (FB) - May 21


Over 25 O Heroes volunteers braved the cold and damp conditions in the early morning of Sunday, Oct. 21 to assist in the annual Susan G. Komen Eugene Race For The Cure. Many of the student-athletes’ volunteer shifts began as early as 6 a.m. The O Heroes contingency helped the race’s organizers by checking in participants prior to the start of their races, gave out t-shirts and running bibs to each participant, served at water stations and assisted as course monitors throughout the race.

The Oregon Acrobatics and Tumbling program took time out on Saturday, Oct. 13, to assist with the inaugural Nick Symmonds Springfield 800. Proceeds of the event benefit Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Lane County. Symmonds, a five-time U.S. Champion, was on hand to meet with participants.

The race was run through the historic Washburn District in downtown Springfield. Many elite track and field athletes participated along with community members. Music was played both before and after the race, and food vendors were set up at the City Hall Fountain Plaza. The student-athletes who volunteered helped with all aspects of the pre- and post-race festivities.

Senior linebacker Michael Clay was recently profiled by Comcast SportsNet NW for his O Heroes volunteer work at the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Valley. The piece was titled Wednesdays with Michael: The “General” Leads By Example.

Clay, from San Jose, Calif., spends time mentoring youth members of the BGC each Monday and Wednesday throughout the academic/athletic calendar.

Last year Clay spent over 133 hours working with the Boys and Girls Club. He looks to spend even more time at the community center in this his final year at UO.

A link to the video and the entire profile as produced by Jordan Whitley and her team from Comcast SportsNet NW can be found online at

O Heroes Director Judy Sheldon and the University of Oregon recently participated in a Global Sports Mentoring Program affiliated with the Center for Sport Peace Society, the U.S. Department of State and espnW.

Seventeen different women from all over the world were identified as emerging leaders in sports. Each traveled to the United States where they were paired with leading U.S. women who work in a sports-related field.

Hongxia Wei from Beijing, China, was the emerging leader who traveled to Eugene for the mentorship program. Wei works with China’s General Administration of Sport where she is Director of Law and Regulation. Wei was paired with Sheldon, who was selected as a leading woman in U.S. sports.

Specifically through the O Heroes program, Wei was exposed to a comprehensive community development program led by elite level athletes. Through her work with the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center in the Lundquist College of Business, Wei had an insider’s look at the sports industry, including management, media, and marketing.

Wei -- who spent three weeks in Eugene -- also worked with the many different departments within Oregon Athletics (administration, compliance, athletic communications, marketing, facilities).

The mentoring program was originated as part of an effort to empower women and girls through sports. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and ESPN President John Skipper announced in June 2012 the creation of the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program.

O Heroes announced their partnership with Snoball, a social media-focused fundraising platform, and Malka Diamonds and Jewelry, the UO’s officially licensed jeweler, in hopes of accelerating their fundraising efforts.

Snoball will give Duck fans, alumni, students and staff the ability to make small, event-triggered donations to O Heroes via a parameter of giving called a “snoball.” For example, users can make a $10 donation for each football win, $1 per goal for the soccer team, or $2 per dunk by the basketball team, with the ability to cap donations at a certain dollar amount. In addition, fans can create their own team-focused snoballs to fit their personal interest in each game, and link their contributions back to the O Heroes program. Snoballs will be made for each of the UO’s 17 varsity teams.

Once a user makes a Snoball account they are able to donate to any and all of O Heroes’ team-specific snoballs, share their giving on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare, and help propel the ability for our student-athletes to create social change within our community.

Malka Diamonds and Jewelry has announced they will give 20 percent of all UO Collection jewelry bought on home football game days, both online or at their Portland store location, back to O Heroes. No promo code is necessary; all purchases from the UO collection on those days qualify.

Funds raised will support UO’s student-athlete volunteer efforts throughout the Eugene-Springfield community including, but not limited to, the following partners: Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Valley, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, KIDSPORTS, Greenhill Humane Society, Food For Lane County and the Lane County School Districts.

For up-to-date information on all things related to O Heroes, follow on Twitter @OHeroes and like on Facebook ( The online home for O Heroes is

The Duck Cup is a competition between all teams that effectively encompasses the major areas of student-athlete life. These areas include academic excellence, athletic excellence, personal development, career development and community service.

Each team is awarded points based on each category’s criteria (see Point System on page 4 for more details). Team members are responsible for filling out and submitting point tracking forms to the Office of Student-Athlete Development for points to be tallied and tracked. Team and individual winners are announced at the end of the year Awards Banquet.

Past winners include:
• 2009-10: Lacrosse
• 2010-11: Soccer
• 2011-12: Acrobatics & Tumbling

The O Heroes program hosted its annual Opening Ceremonies at Pape’ Field in Eugene on Sunday, Sept. 23. The evening was highlighted by a hypnotist act where 20 UO student-athletes were put under hypnosis and required to do several funny things.

Also as part of the event, executives of UO’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) -- Lena Macomson (Women’s Tennis) and Ben DeJarnette (Cross Country / Track & Field) -- spoke to the student-athletes in attendance about the importance of O Heroes.

Lisa Petersen, Oregon’s Senior Women’s Administrator, also spoke to the student-athletes about the importance of volunteering in the community. Pictures and video from the opening ceremonies can be found online at

Student-athletes and staff from the University of Oregon Athletic Department embarked on a nine-day trip to the Dominican Republic from June 15-23. The UO contingent teamed up with Courts for Kids, a tax-exempt organization which regularly works with local groups and community members to build courts which provide youth with the opportunity to play sports.

The 20 representatives from UO traveled specifically to Los Cerros which is part of the rural town of Don Juan located two hours north of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The team stayed with host families in very primitive conditions with bucket baths, latrines, sparse electricity and even sparser light bulbs.

Courts for Kids is an official 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, based in Vancouver, Washington. The mission of Courts for Kids is to foster love, compassion, service and an expanding worldview as we take teams to economically disadvantaged areas, partnering with local organizations and community members to build courts which will provide kids with the opportunity to play sports.

A complete recap of the 2012 O Heroes Abroad International Service trip -- with photos and video -- is online at

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is a committee made up of student-athletes assembled to provide insight on the student-athlete experience. SAAC also offers input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on NCAA member institutions campuses. SAAC has representatives from each team and meets bi-monthly.

The UO SAAC has had a profound impact on the Athletic Department and the community. SAAC consists of an impressive group of student-athletes, the best of the best, and we are very proud of their hard work and leadership abilities.

SAAC intends to promote effective communication between the student-athlete population as a whole, student-athletes as individuals, and the athletic department administration. SAAC will also provide student-athletes the opportunity to communicate with administration on local and national issues affecting student-athletes, while allowing student-athletes with the opportunity to provide suggestions and feedback on programs that serve student-athlete needs.

Below is a listing of the executive staff for the 2012-13 academic calendar.

Co-Chairs: Ben DeJarnette (CC/T&F) and Lena Macomson (WTEN)
O Heroes Chairs: Lauren Plum (VB) and Maggie Kovacs (LAX)
Healthy Athletes / Sustainability Chairs: Robin Cambier (MTEN) and Sarah Andrews (T&F)
Athlete Unification: Chelsea Randel (LAX)
Campus Liaison: Julia Magdelino (A&T)
Football Liasion: Dustin Haines (FB)

O Heroes is a philanthropic organization run by UO student-athletes. The goal for O Heroes is to create a collective organization that can positively impact Oregon, specifically the Eugene/Springfield community. The student-athletes’ efforts are a way of thanking the fans and the community for their continued support of UO Athletics. Generally the type of volunteer work includes participating in youth services, hospital visits, working with underprivileged groups, and overall community development.

After falling under the Duck Athletic Fund non-profit umbrella for the past four years, O Heroes was recently awarded its own 501(c)3 entity. This status enables O Heroes to fundraise more aggressively as to provide greater opportunities for Lane County communities. O Heroes has started fundraising initiatives through Snoball, a social media based fundraising platform, as well as with Malka Diamonds and Jewelry, who are donating 20% of sales from UO branded jewelry on game days.

O Heroes works on a weekly basis with the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Valley and the Greenhill Humane Society.

Each Wednesday throughout the school year, O Heroes volunteers mentor, play and interact with the youth from the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Valley.

Every Sunday, O Heroes representatives spend time at Greenhill Humane Society to help walk and run dogs, play with cats and rabbits in an effort to help make them more adoptable.

Student-athletes at the University of Oregon are committed to giving back and serving the local community. Through the O Heroes program, UO student-athletes regularly complete over 4,000 hours of service per year and serve a wide variety of schools in Lane County.

The focus of O Heroes is concentrated in three key initiatives: health, education and service. Student-athletes voluntarily fulfill many service requests from the community. However, priority is given to programs that meet the objectives of O Heroes. Sensitivity is given to student-athletes with respect to academic, competition, practice and training schedules.

Schools or organizations that would like to request the service of a student-athlete, please fill out the Online Appearance Request Form available at Or contact O Heroes Program Director Judy Sheldon (contact info listed above).

Please note the following: Submitting a form does not guarantee the request will be fulfilled. Requests must be received at least two weeks prior to the date of activity. Requests for specific student-athletes or teams are not guaranteed. Please read the NCAA Guidelines/Restrictions prior to submitting an appearance request.

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