By Rob Moseley
The Jaqua Center will host a video presentation and panel discussion Wednesday highlighting the results of a weeklong experiment designed to bridge perceived divides between students and student-athletes at the university.
The event, titled “Duck Crossing,” will review the experiences of several students and student-athletes who were paired up and then shadowed each other over the course of a recent week. A panel discussion moderated by former UO three-sport athlete Jordan Kent will follow.
The event is open to the public, and begins Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Jaqua 101.
“The purpose of the project is really to start a conversation about what it means to attend the University of Oregon, and what kind of legacy all students want to achieve while here,” said Jennie Leander, senior associate director of the Services for Student Athletes department. “I think you see in the videos that each group really had their eyes opened to what each other is accomplishing, both in and out of the program.”
The student-athletes who participated included football player Rodney Hardrick, an educational foundations major; women’s basketball player Jillian Alleyne, a communications disorders sciences major; baseball player Cole Irvin, a sociology major; and lacrosse player Chelsea Randel, and family human services major.
They were paired with, respectively, chemistry major Chase Salazer, president of the Interfraternity Council; business administration major Ashley Anderson, an intern in the university’s office of student affairs; political science and Spanish major Nolan Kane, an IT student manager at the Jaqua Center; and human physiology major Jenn Truong, a peer adviser and lab TA in that department.
“It just gives us a chance to break stereotypes, and for students and student-athletes to see the differences and similarities in their lives,” Hardrick said.
The genesis for “Duck Crossing” was discussions between Leander and Katie Harbert of the office of student-athlete development. Those conversations began to include university staff from academic departments, coalescing around the shadowing concept, and they took off after a discussion between Harbert and Rita Radostitz from the office of student affairs.
“There is much discussion about athletics, resources, campus, etc., but it's frequently forgotten that there are real students and people behind those issues,” Leander said. “Again, I think the videos help people see that students and student-athletes have more in common than not. And we think that often gets lost when we talk about only about what makes us different.”