Holden Center Exterior

The Holden Center is located outside of the EMU. (Hannah Kanik/Emerald)

Do you have an idea for a service project but don’t know how to make it happen?

The Holden Center offers students up to $1,000 of grant money to facilitate a community-based service project. Any student can apply online.

To apply for a Holden Center grant, students have to identify a problem or area in need within the community and then come up with a service project or solution.

Sabrina Boutiette, community engagement program assistant for the Holden Center, said the center is always accepting applications.

The grants are funded through a $250,000 donation from the Kilkenny family made in 2008, said Marcus Langford, the associate dean of students who is also serving as the interim director of the Holden Center.

Typically, eight to 10 grants are awarded each year; however, that number can fluctuate depending on investment performance and student interest, Langford said.

“We are constantly creating and thinking about ideas. To actually have the capability and the finances to make those a reality is really awesome,” Boutiette said.

Michelle Lo, a junior math major, held an ‘Hour of Code’ event at the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley last fall.

Lo said she wanted to expose children in the Eugene area to computer science at a young age because she never had that exposure and always felt behind in her classes.

“I’m a math major, I started as a computer science major but I was sort of deterred from the program from not having enough prior experience,” Lo said. “Growing up as a woman I didn’t have a lot of exposure to it like a lot of the males in my class.”

She said she had already worked with the Holden Center for other events like Saturday of Service and Duck Corps, and heard about the grant opportunity through them.

Lo applied for a grant in April 2018 and found out she earned the grant in May.

“I thought about if I was someone from the community, how would I benefit from something like this? So with the Hour of Code, I related it back to my own experience,” Lo said.

Lo held her event on Sept. 19, where approximately 60 kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley played games and learned about computer coding.


Member of the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley playing online games during the Hour of Code (Courtesy of Michelle Lo).

Lo spent $300 of her $1000 grant. Students can spend as much or as little of the $1000 grant, depending on how much money they need for their project.

Last year, the Holden Center received 17 applications, accepted four applications and put on three of the service projects.

Holden Center photos

Volunteer Sierra Batton leading an activity called "getting loopy" to teach kids about algorithms (Courtesy of Michelle Lo). 

Students can visit the Holden Center on the ground level of the EMU right next to the amphitheater if they have any questions about the application.

There are other ways to get involved beyond service projects. Students can participate in the Saturday of Service held every term or join Duck Corps, a weekly community service program.

“We are a part of this community. I think it’s important to know and recognize the things that need attention,” Boutiette said.

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