A Treasure Trove of Resources for Kent State's Future Filmmakers, Media and Production Professionals

When students graduate from the digital media production major, they’re often expected to use industry-standard equipment immediately as they step into their first jobs. Thanks to the Student Resource Lab (SRL) in Franklin Hall, where students can check out more than 3,000 pieces of equipment, they’ll have had plenty of practice in the classroom before graduating. 

In Spring 2023, students checked out more than 1,500 pieces of equipment over the course of a semester. Professors hand-select the equipment for projects in their Media and Journalism (MDJ) classes, using their real-world knowledge of what training and technical skills are critical to helping students succeed. The equipment is state-of-the-art, ranging from hundreds of Canon camera lenses to 360 GoPro rigging. 

This important resource allows Kent State students studying media and journalism to experience equipment that might otherwise be out of reach to them due to the expense of some items.

“A lot of this stuff isn’t feasible for students to buy themselves,” said digital media production major Olivia VanSickle, ‘24, “Digital Media Production is one of the fastest growing programs in CCI, so the equipment needs to be constantly updated and organized, so students can get what they need for the fullest experience.”

Media and Journalism Director Emily Metzgar, Ph.D., is committed to keeping the equipment fresh and relevant. The SRL undergoes a comprehensive equipment review every five years, and any outdated equipment is cleared out and replaced with state-of-the-art technology.


“The SRL is an incredible resource for students in MDJ,” Metzgar said. “As we continue to update our curriculum, more and more students are taking advantage of the opportunities the SRL offers. It’s a pretty big operation, and it’s experiencing tremendous growth.”

Media and Journalism students who are enrolled in specified classes can check out equipment for their class projects throughout the semester. Student Media outlets also heavily rely on SRL equipment to film segments in and outside the studio.

“This kind of equipment can be incredibly expensive, and it’s important that students have the same opportunity to learn no matter their economic backgrounds,” said Christine Zuercher, Resource and Creative Labs Manager for the College of Communication and Information. 

Zuercher runs the SRL with the help of a team of student employees. Students hired have knowledge about each piece of equipment to better assist others with questions about the best equipment for their projects. Digital media production major Sophia Sainato, ’25, says she has enjoyed the opportunity. 

“My favorite part about working there is that it’s such a relaxed environment to work in, and half the time, we help students we already know,” said Sainato.

Sophia Sainato explains equipment

She recalls the first time she had to take out equipment for her class; it was Production Fundamentals, a class dedicated to equipment and learning how to use it through hands-on experience. She learned to use a camera and sound recorders, set up a tripod and more.

Other classes that frequently check out equipment include Production II, Digital Cinematography and Advanced Cinematography, with the top categories of equipment and kits being audio, lighting and tripods.

Students can rent equipment 24 hours in advance through a platform and app called Cheqroom, where they can see all available equipment.

“I just wish people knew how much we have to offer, especially this semester,” said Sainato. “We’ve gotten some new equipment that is top-of-the-line brand new that students can test out for free.”

Learn more about the SRL and facilities in Franklin Hall. 

POSTED: Monday, November 27, 2023 10:46 AM
Updated: Friday, December 8, 2023 04:33 PM
Eve Krejci, '24