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O Heroes Kicks Off Winter Quarter Community Service
Release Date: 01/18/2013
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EUGENE, Ore. -- The O Heroes program will resume its community service work this month after taking a short hiatus for the student-athletes’ holiday break.

Every year on Jan. 21 people from across the nation come together in service for their communities to honor the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. O Heroes will once again be involved on this monumental holiday, beginning their winter quarter events with a pair of community service activities.

O Heroes volunteers from football and lacrosse will be at the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Valley from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The lacrosse team will be donating a check in the amount of $1,523.07 to the BGC. That money was raised from work they did through the Autzen Green Team Tailgate Recycling Program. During home football games this past season, lacrosse players worked to educate and engage Duck fans about the value and importance of recycling, while providing a convenient method of disposal.

Also on Monday, O Heroes will join forces with UO’s Duck Corps for an event called “MLK Day On!” with this year’s focus being the improvement of the building conditions at Willamette High School. O Heroes volunteers and Duck Corps are partnering with WHS’s Willamette Pride. The project runs from 12-3 p.m.

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 is a pair of upcoming service events on the calendar:

• Tuesday, Jan. 22:  O Heroes will visit Gilham Elementary School to read to students. Student-athletes from the women’s soccer team and men’s tennis team will be on hand from approximately 11:30 am - 1:15 p.m. Books have been selected by the students of Gilham Elementary.

• Saturday, Jan. 26:  O Heroes will assist with the University of Oregon’s Dance Marathon which raises money to support the Children’s Miracle Network. UO student-athletes will escort participating children (and their parents) to the evening's opening ceremonies. UO volunteers will also serve as judges for the competition portion of the event. UO's Dance Marathon is scheduled to run from 6-8 p.m.

The Nike Foundation in conjunction with the Jamii Moja Foundation is bringing three tribesmen from the Masai tribe in Kenya to meet with UO student-athletes and campus groups.

The event is set for Saturday, Feb. 9 and will run from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at UO’s Lawrence Hall, room 177.

The tribesmen will talk about what it is like to live in Kenya and the importance of using both men and women to build a society.

The purpose of the event is to give UO student-athletes an opportunity to involve themselves in an initiative that has the potential to impact 600 million girls (and their families) in a developing world. More on the Girl Effect can be found at

This project is building off former UO football coach Chip Kelly’s trip to Africa, as seen can be seen by clicking here.

The Duck Cup is an O Heroes 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.

Teams are awarded points based on each category’s criteria (see Point System on page 4 for more details). The 2012-13 standings through the fall quarter are listed below.

2012-13 Duck Cup Team Totals
(1) Lacrosse-412.8; (2) Acro & Tumbling-405; (3) Soccer-219.5; (4) Women’s Golf-211.6; (5) Women’s Tennis-161; (6) Women’s Basketball-154.6; (7) Men’s Tennis-111.6; (8) Football-101.3; (9) Softball-53; (10) Volleyball-34.7; (11) Women’s Track & Field-34.7; (12) Baseball-17.6; (13) Men’s Track & Field-13.8; (14) Men’s Basketball-13.2; (15) Men’s Golf-11.4.

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

O Heroes wrapped up the fall quarter community service events with a jam-packed month of November. O Heroes volunteers hosted Animal Shelter Day at Greenhill Humane Society, hosted their third-annual Bowling Night with Special Olympics Oregon, coordinated involvement with the men’s health movement of Movember, all while providing Thanksgiving baskets for families in Lane County.

Animal Shelter Day kicked-off the weekly service partnership for O Heroes volunteers at Greenhill Humane Society. 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. Twenty-five UO student-athletes from nine different sports volunteered for the event. Volunteers were from the following teams: Lacrosse (11), Softball (3), Soccer (3), Football (2), Women’s Basketball (2), Baseball (1), Track & Field (1), Tennis (1), Men’s Golf (1).

The third-annual Bowling Night with Special Olympics Oregon drew over 30 student-athletes from seven different sports. The event -- which was held at Emerald Lanes in Eugene -- featured O Heroes volunteers teaming-up on the lanes with Special Olympians from Oregon.

Many UO coaches, student-athletes and support staff grew mustaches in affiliating with Movember which helps create awareness for men’s health. During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of mustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Notable UO athletics participants included head baseball coach George Horton, UO head softball coach Mike White, and UO women’s basketball coaches Paul Westhead and Dan Muscatell. In all, UO Athletics had 62 members participate in the 2012 Movember movement.

Also in November was the annual O Heroes Thanksgiving Basket Drive. O Heroes gathered 61 Thanksgiving baskets and raised another $700 through their volunteer work. Initially, O Heroes -- in conjunction with St. Vincent de Paul -- aimed to collect 50 food baskets to distribute throughout the community

O Heroes collected 240 sports bras for female athletes in West Ambrym, Pacific Islands through their month-long Support Sport initiative.

Recognizing female athletes’ need for sport bras, Brooke Strawn, a freshman forward on the UO’s women’s soccer team, approached O Heroes in hopes of gaining community support for her cause. Strawn and her sister, Kristen, a UO alum and an active Peace Corps member on assignment in West Ambrym, are there distributing the collected sports bras together this winter break.

“The support from both the Eugene/Springfield community and from Nike has been amazing,” said O Heroes director Judy Sheldon, “Originally we set a goal to collect 25 sports bras. However, after Nike’s donation of 160 and the community’s donation of 44 we ended the drive with almost seven times more than expected.”

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

Each week O Heroes sits down with one of our student-athletes to get to know more about them on and off the field.

This week’s feature is on Noah Sheikh, a 6-6 redshirt freshman on the Oregon men’s golf team. Noah is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Economics.

A native to Woodside, CA, Noah is known around the athletic department for his achievements on the course and in the classroom. In high school, Noah was a volunteer coach for a local Special Olympics basketball team. At Oregon, Noah continues working with Special Olympians through O Heroes’ annual bowling event.

Last spring Noah and the Oregon men’s golf team swept the competition at SHOWTIME, O Heroes’ annual student-athlete talent show, with their Faster, Stronger, Bigger, Golfer video. Noah’s ability to make people laugh, and his passion for community involvement, makes him a stand-out O Heroes volunteer.

After graduation, Noah plans on moving back to the Bay Area and starting his career in the finance industry. He hopes to continue his work with the Special Olympics and remain a positive influence in the kid’s lives. The selections are made by O Heroes student directors Maggie Kovacs (LAX) and Lauren Plum (VB).

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
Marcus Mariota (FB) - Nov. 2
English Gardner (T&F) - Nov. 9
David Wylie (WSOC) - Nov. 29
Allie Woodward (T&F/CC) - Dec. 6
Maggie Kovacs (LAX) - Jan. 10

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:

Jess 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. .

The video piece can be found by clicking here.

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.

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. More available at

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)

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