Working to keep the UO campus beautiful, clean, and safe

Anne Schwarz

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.

This interview was conducted during spring term.

Anne Schwarz
Executive Assistant and Strategic Initiatives Coordinator

How long have you worked at the UO?

I started working at the UO on July 18, 2016.

Tell us about your work:

I support Mike Harwood, who is our associate vice president for Campus Planning and Facilities Management (CPFM). I’ve been called the “Tetris Magician,” since I manage and try to create space on his busy calendar.

My job primarily consists of project management and employee engagement. On the project management side of things, I oversee a lot of the cross-functional and organization-wide projects and the research related to those projects. From there, I develop processes to streamline operations across a whole portfolio of units.

Employee engagement is a big part of my job right now, especially with a lot of cross-departmental relationships that help enable leadership direction. I lead company retreats and plan all of our events, which I do quarterly for all the employees. I also sit on a lot of committees, write the monthly newsletters and send weekly communications. I represent the operations end of campus and think that without our work, campus doesn’t function. My team members are the unsung heroes of this kind of work.

What does your typical day look like?

I don’t have a typical day because on the operations side, things come at you every day. There are different challenges that require us to step up, think on our feet and respond to whatever it is that comes up. If it’s pouring down rain, there will be leaks so you’ve got to work around that. I really like being busy, and as far as what’s changed, I know that most of the employees working with us have not left campus to work remotely. We’ve all been here through the pandemic. Campus is kind of quiet, but the biggest change for me would be that I spent an enormous amount of time on IMT meetings and facilities response team meetings. There, we try to figure out how we can keep everything safe, clean and locked on campus.

What do you like about working at the UO?

The people for sure. I may be biased, but I feel like we are the hardest working group on campus. There isn’t a lot of glory in this part of the world, but we’re sort of the backbone of the university. We plan, design, sustain and keep up with everything going on around campus. I’m proud of the work that CPFM does, and I get to interact with all five units every day. I like that a lot.

What keeps you motivated?

Especially at the end of spring term, I’m motivated by the grounds crew beautifying campus for commencement. That’s very inspiring to me, just watching them plant all the marigolds outside Johnson Hall and the Ford Alumni Center. They’re power washing everything, cleaning the windows and it’s making me want to spruce up our area and make it as good as it can be.

What is something people may not know about you?

I grew up in Paris and lived there for 12 years. I then moved to New York, California and ultimately ended up here in Eugene.

Anne Schwarz is part of Campus Planning and Facilities Management.

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