Digital Media Center lighting upgraded

SOU Digital Media Center moves to energy-efficient studio lighting

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Digital Media Center has addressed sustainability and improved educational resources for students in a recent, transformative upgrade to its studio lighting. The studio is now operating with state-of-the-art LED film and TV lighting fixtures, dramatically reducing energy consumption while enhancing the quality of its productions.

“This project has been a dream for some time, but until now has been cost-prohibitive,” said Brandon Givens, director of the DMC. “Thanks to a consortium of campus partners – as well as abnormally generous pricing from the manufacturer, ARRI Lighting – we were able to complete this incredible upgrade all at once.”

Better for users, better for the environment.
The new lighting system uses cutting-edge LED technology, reducing energy use by approximately 75% and aligning with SOU’s commitment to green energy. The lights are expected to run directly from the campus solar grid in the future, as SOU continues to add arrays of solar panels and expands its generating capacity to become the first public university to produce enough electricity to meet all of its daytime energy needs. The LEDs also produce far less heat than the lights they replaced, conserving energy by reducing the need for air conditioning.

The DMC project was funded largely by the Associated Students of SOU’s “Green Tag Fee” – an assessment of $14 per student each term that was approved in a student vote several years ago to promote sustainability projects. SOU Sustainability Director Becs Walker said the Green Tag Fee is “designed to empower student-led sustainability projects that not only benefit our campus but also set a precedent for environmental stewardship in higher education.” The DMC and SOU’s Sustainability Office and Institute for Applied Sustainability each contributed additional funding for the project.

“The new lighting capabilities in the studio allow students to experience a form of artistic expression they may not have otherwise cultivated,” said student Riley Carter, who is majoring in Sustainability with a minor in Digital Cinema.

“This program preaches collaboration on all fronts and I have gained experience and knowledge from every person I have had the opportunity to work with,” said Carter, who spearheaded the application for Green Tag funding.

Benefiting a variety of current and future users
The high-quality ARRI lighting fixtures, known for their durability and professional-grade performance, are expected serve the SOU community for decades. The improved studio environment benefits SOU student filmmakers and a variety of other campus programs, including digital and performing arts, The Fringe Festival, Rogue Valley Television, Community & Government Access, and Southern Oregon PBS.

The old lighting equipment was donated to local middle and high schools, aiding their lighting setups and promoting sustainability by avoiding unnecessary disposal.

An intersection of sustainability initiatives
The DMC’s lighting upgrade is an example of SOU’s efforts to make sustainability a team sport by encouraging collaboration and interconnected projects. The university is striving for a comprehensive model of sustainability that improves educational and community resources, prioritizes re-use of materials by way of local donations and opens potential revenue streams to expand access and opportunity for students.