Wesley Baucom, Staff Writer

As the University of Missouri–St. Louis still remains within the cusp of the Fall 2019 semester, new faces aren’t the only things to pop-up, and familiar people won’t be the only ones to change over time. 

 Within the busy space of Lucas Hall, Room 203 has transformed into a media lab, making things easier, not only for media students but for the university as a whole. By constant lobbying and never letting his voice die down, professor Kerry Manderbach has accomplished his goal of promoting synergy and centralizing the media department here at UMSL. 

 The intuitive layout of the room makes it both highly flexible, yet specialized all at once. There are long, rolling tables with comfortable chairs that can be connected and disconnected depending on a classroom’s desire and functional need. There are also Mac computers encircling the room all along the wall, each equipped with the latest media software and programs. It’s a great space for anyone’s media education needs, and it’s well-lit too. 

 When speaking to Manderbach, he spoke vivaciously and in warm tones about his struggle to obtain a dedicated media space. “I bugged people to no end about it,” he laughed. “The problem was that we didn’t always have access to [other computer rooms] because other classes had first dibs.” Though that wouldn’t be the only problem for anyone seeking an editing bay. Many computers on campus had no access to video editing software and other programs necessary for media production, leaving some teachers and students to trek off North Campus to the Fine Arts Building, among other places, making the video editing process just that much harder for media and communication students. Thanks to Manderbach and the media department, that’s no longer an issue. 

Among the many benefits to having a full on editing studio, media studies and communications students will have first “dibs,” instead of the other way around as it was previously. Though other departments can schedule the space via 25 Live. “Now [the Editing Studio] is centrally located, and the entire Media and Communication department has relocated here. We also have offices upstairs if anyone needs to see their instructors, and if anyone needs to checkout equipment it’s right upstairs as well. So it’s much better now—all centrally located.” With the location now being central, there are hopes for better connectivity and more togetherness that wasn’t there before. 

The media department won’t stop here, and  will only cultivate and bond further as time goes on. After all, media encompasses more than just video production. Collaboration will be the key to success in the near future. “It’s the beginning of something, definitely. We want to build Synergy between departments, a situation where Media Studies students can do media work for the other departments. Hopefully the building will turn into a hub, where students can network and hangout.” As Manderbach and I sat in our swiveling chairs in the editing studio, there was a look of near-endless optimism that filled his face, with his mouth curling towards his ears in a hopeful smile. As the days and semesters continue to pass us by, keep Room 203 of Lucas Hall in mind—it could be of use in your near future.