Nourishing the community and inspiring others to give

Editor’s note: Duck of the Week is a section in Around the O Workplace that highlights UO employees and their work, and to help build community by learning more about our coworkers. Each story features an interview with one employee, in their own words, with light editing for clarity and length.

This special edition is a collaboration with the Governor’s State Employee’s Food Drive steering committee. The steering committee members determine the strategy for the campus food drive, supports department coordinators by providing guidance and administrative support, and publicizes the food drive via social media and other methods. 

Sophie Navarro
Office Specialist, Vice President for Research and Innovation

How long have you worked at the UO?

Over 14 years

Tell us about your work:

I work for the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. I support Research Development Services and Research Finance & Business Administration. I handle a variety of administrative tasks, UO contracts, time entry and copy editing.

What does your typical day at work look like during the food drive?

My typical day at work during the food drive is coordinating with others to help get the word out in OVPRI. We send out weekly emails every Friday regarding information on specifics on where to donate non-perishable food, how to sign up to donate using payroll deductions, and planning a raffle event for our unit. I also create a heart design for each person that donates through the online fundraising site and add it to our bulletin. It’s a nice way to say thank you for donations and honors each person. I am also planning two cooking videos that I get to share with my colleagues in effort of creating more engagement to raise money for the food drive. We will also be decorating our office soon.

What do you like about serving on the food drive steering committee for UO?

I enjoy working with a wonderful team of colleagues that are incredibly passionate and motivated to raise funds to help support Food for Lane County. We all share our ideas regularly through Teams or in our Zoom meetings. There are so many opportunities for me to be creative through marketing and networking with the UO community. I love getting a chance to expand my skills and continue to meet new people. I am working with Noemi Sepe in the Office of the Provost and creating new content for our social media campaign. This kind of creativity and collaboration is very important to me, and I value all the connections I am building. It’s really special!

What keeps you motivated to work on food insecurity?

I am motivated to work on food insecurity, because I know how important it is to help nourish your community and give people resources. I know there have been times when I needed to look for resources and I was always so grateful for the support. It means so much to me to help my neighbors, colleagues, students, and the wider community. Knowing that I am making an impact through talking about the food drive with colleagues, friends, family, and letting them know how they can help is very inspiring to me. I also believe collaborating with others inspires a chain reaction to do more good in our community and continue to give.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to get involved with the food drive?

I recommend checking out the online fundraising site. There are opportunities for your department to engage with the steering committee to help you get started in creating opportunities to start raising money. We are happy to help guide you! Your department can set a goal, have a team name, and also volunteer at Food for Lane County. The website for volunteering at Food for Lane County is!

Do you know someone who should be Duck of the Week? Nominate a UO employee.