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 his or her own words, with light editing for clarity and length.
How long have you worked at the UO?
I have worked at the University of Oregon for three years.
Tell us about your work:
My job has two distinct components: student support and the promotion of safe practices. I like being able to work with amazing student leaders at the University of Oregon. I see myself as a steward of the communities I serve in the residence halls. My job is to challenge their worldviews and question them about their decisions in the framework of the student leadership position.
The other aspect of my work is safety and security, which is why I mention being a steward of my community. I have accountability discussions with students and ask them if this was the best decision they've made. I want to help them understand that even though their choice does not define who they are, it is something they can learn from and grow as individuals.
What does your typical day look like?
My days are very flexible because the bulk of my meetings are spent helping students who are experiencing an issue. I also help students locate resources or support them through mental health crises. My sessions are focused on relationship development, which involves accountability and student discussions. The most noticeable difference this year is the people and conversations that we did not have last year since there were fewer people on campus.
What do you like about working at the UO?
I like working with the people on campus because my coworkers are extremely motivated and passionate about their work. My colleagues are energized by student learning, growth, and support in all they do. We are all approaching student assistance in our own unique ways, which makes it so much fun to collaborate. I also love hearing from student leaders about what excites them and motivates them to want to become a leader.
What keeps you motivated?
I'm interested in learning about other people's origins and the beliefs they were raised with. College is an experience where your understanding of the world is tested by your classmates, professors and coursework. You are forced to reconcile the things you’ve learned and the new experiences that you’ve been exposed to. Celebrating these achievements with students and my colleagues is extremely inspiring since we are generating good change in our community.
Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
I could name a bunch of people who have changed my life for the better, but there's just so many that I'm so grateful for. My work has been inspired by people in my life that I have been mentored by. I stand here today on the shoulders of a lot of different people in my life, so I don't think I could point to one person. Everyone you meet makes a defining moment in your life and the way you perceive the decisions you make.
Tayla Yogi is a part of University Housing.
Do you know someone who should be Duck of the Week? Nominate a UO employee.