What's your Gold?What do an Olympic runner and a college student have in common?

At first, you might think the two couldn’t be more different. But look deeper, and you realize that everyone faces personal struggles and has to work toward achieving their goals, whether it’s getting a 4.0 GPA, running a half-marathon or winning a gold medal at the Olympics.

To help University of Oregon (UO) students and others set and pursue their personal goals, Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR), the student-run public relations agency run out of the UO School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC), has teamed up with Olympic athletes and UO alumni Ashton Eaton, BA ‘10, and Brianne Theissen-Eaton, BA ’11. The Eatons and AHPR have collaborated since fall to create “What’s Your Gold?,” a social media campaign and storytelling challenge developed by Merit, a Portland-based branding agency, in conjunction with the Eatons.

“What’s Your Gold?” is about more than just accomplishing something. It’s designed to showcase the entire process of achieving a goal, specifically highlighting personal struggles and difficulties during that process. The Eatons say that it doesn’t matter if you end up achieving your goal or not; rather, it’s about what you learn along the way. And the prize? A trip to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

AHPR started working with the Eatons and Merit in September to take the inspiration behind the campaign — the myth that athletes such as the Eatons have perfect lives without struggles or difficulties — and build out the campaign conceptThe couple wanted to break down this stereotype and humanize professional athletes. AHPR Director Courtney Mains and several SOJC faculty advisors met with the Eatons to hone in on their message before the AHPR team worked to implement the specifics of the campaign.

What's your Gold? The campaign’s submission process asks contestants to submit four separate social media posts: Submission 1 is a goal, 2 is a struggle, 3 is a breakthrough and 4 is the outcome. To participate, everyone is invited to upload four social media posts — via text, video or photo — to Instagram or Twitter anytime before June 1 using the #WhatsYourGold and #EndeavorAlways hashtags, plus the tag @WeAreEaton. All posts must be made through the same social media platform, so choose your channel and stick to it.

At the end of the campaign, the Eatons will choose the story they find most inspiring. The winner will receive a trip for two to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August to watch the Eatons compete. You can find all the details and rules of the campaign on the “What’s Your Gold?” website.

“This campaign is a really awesome opportunity because it’s a community of people. You can see what everyone else is sharing,” said AHPR Account Supervisor Zoe Loving. “If people want to get out there and go for a goal, you have the support of all these other people.”

Through campaigns like “What’s Your Gold?”, AHPR is giving students the opportunity to work with real-world clients to create inspiring work that induces change. “AHPR is a powerful network, bringing together bright, driven and passionate students to produce excellent client work while forming long-lasting relationships with one another,” said Mains. “It was one of the best decisions I made at the UO.”

Story by Nicole Rideout ’16
Photos by Ryan Levenson ‘16