Swem’s new media center offers resources for creative production
Written by Siobhan Doherty|
September 28, 2015
There’s a new spot on campus for those looking to record a new jam, produce a great film or satiate a craving for creative fulfillment. Serving as a hub for film lovers, media junkies and tech geeks, the Reeder Media Center offers a multitude of resources to use for media production or enjoyment.
Entering this space, one can find innovative students and a helpful staff, along with a multitude of updated media platforms and tools. Conveniently located in the spacious basement of Earl Gregg Swem Library, it encompasses a well-stocked lending library and comfortable viewing rooms, as well as the original, noseless Lord Botetourt.
In 2006, when Director of the Reeder Media Center, Troy Davis, began his career in the basement of Swem, the library was newly renovated, but an outlet for expression through media was basically non-existent on campus. Research regarding this issue ensued as students expressed their desire for a space that could meet the needs of production class requirements and independent creative projects. The students’ voices were heard, and private donations accounted for 83 percent of the funding for an initiative to build a creative space.
“It’s a testament to how our students crave a creative space outside of the classroom that’s just as rigorous.”
“We were lucky to have a really committed group of students early on,” Davis said. “It’s a testament to how our students crave a creative space outside of the classroom that’s just as rigorous. Students need another place to do thoughtful, intellectual work.”
The present media center is stocked with a media storage room containing a little bit of everything, staffed by around 16 trained employees and was well-received, as students can be seen at all times lounging, studying and utilizing resources in the media center’s cozy and inspiring atmosphere.
“We now have the sufficient storage and infrastructure that we didn’t have before,” Davis said.
This storage and quantity of useful materials allows for the center to loan students any resources they may need for various projects. The online catalog showcases a range of items from USB drives and headphone splitters to DSLRs and keyboards.
“We loan out to the community probably about 200 items,” Davis said. “Cameras, audio recorders, hard drives, laptops, every conceivable cable …”
Borrowing resources from the media center is not a complicated process. After signing a loan agreement, an item can be checked out for up to three days, and extensions for long-term projects can be easily negotiated.
“We try to keep the bureaucracy barrier as low as possible to allow students to get access to the things they need,” Davis said.
Also, being a “media geek” isn’t necessary to borrow materials, as a wide range of students take advantage of the center’s catalog. There’s a consitent base of users that are mainly involved in production classes, but it is emphasized by the staff that educating renters on how to use equipment is an important aspect of their job.
“I would profile us all as educators and not just as equipment nerds. We are really interested in the educational potential of media,” Davis said.
The media center staff provides the sturdy foundation on which the creativity and efficiency of the media center stands. The staff assures the media center’s worth on campus through their active utilization of its resources.
“I like that we are a really accepting and productive group of people,” media center employee Daniel Conover ’17 said.
The center’s creative media specialist Pratyush Dubey ’11 said his philosophy on his job at the center is to “learn new things every day,” a mantra that many in the media center seem to adopt.
Staff member Conover makes use of the updated and underrated studios that line the media center wall.
“We are super blessed to have the amount of material resources we do,” he said while speaking of his own experiences recording music.
Davis said that the students also bring their own resources to the center, namely creativity.
“The students here are engaging,” Davis said. “I am heartened to see people accomplish things creatively … I’m fascinated by the process.”
Even for students who are not interested in the media resources available, the media center provides a space to study and lounge. According to Arika Thames ’19, the room design allows for a more creatively charged atmosphere, and make it a prime location for assignments that require a little more energy.
“The uniqueness of the space makes it more appealing for doing more thoughtful assignments, and the staff is really helpful and hard-working,” Thames said.
With their combination of available materials, including music studios, media viewing rooms and large computers with updated software, a friendly staff, a productive atmosphere, and a spacious lounge, the Reeder Media Center is a central place on campus for those seeking to express their creativity.