As I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline this afternoon, I saw some tweets from a campus organization known as O Heroes. This student-run nonprofit group helps integrate student athletes and the community of Eugene, bringing them both together for charity and goodwill events. This got me thinking about social responsibility efforts and how important they are for athletic organizations and their identities. O Heroes is an excellent public relations effort not only for the University of Oregon Athletic Department, but also for the individual athletes.
O Heroes was started in 2008 by the athletic department as a department recognized non-profit organization. The group can collect donations on campus and from the community that will be turned around and granted to service projects and local organizations. The other component of O Heroes, and perhaps the most unique part of the program, is the community outreach that it does with its athletes. The organization partners with local school districts, The Boys and Girls Club and The National Childhood Obesity Foundation among others to put on events that bring the University’s athletes into the local community to raise awareness for the various organizations.
This effort does not go unnoticed. O Heroes logos are seen all over campus, from water bottles to backpacks and t-shirts, and the children and families effected by O Heroes are left touched by the Ducks. This community outreach effort certainly helps the image of the Oregon Athletic Department as well. With the days of Jeremiah Masoli and his many blunders behind us, the school needs some positive public relations efforts to move forward. O Heroes does just that, and it teaches athletes about giving back, which will hopefully contribute to future successes.