OUS-Red Cross fundraiser-1

Ohio University Southern electronic media students provided production support for a Red Cross fundraiser, “Dancing with Our Stars,” in Portsmouth, Ohio, last weekend.

OUS-Red Cross fundraiser-2

Ohio University Southern electronic media students provided production support for a Red Cross fundraiser, “Dancing with Our Stars,” in Portsmouth, Ohio, last weekend.

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Southern Campus’ students instrumental in success of Red Cross fundraiser


Electronic media students at Ohio University’s Southern Campus had the opportunity to gain real-world career experience while providing production support for the Red Cross fundraiser, “Dancing with Our Stars” event in Portsmouth, Ohio, last weekend. The annual fundraiser has become quite popular, featuring various members of the community as local celebrity dance contestants, much like the exciting television program that it emulates.

Don Moore, associate professor and director of the electronic media program, says these types of community projects provide an invaluable learning experience for students. “From the time students come into our program, they learn by doing, in addition to the theoretical classroom instruction. It’s very rewarding to see a young person make the transformation from being hesitant to touch expensive equipment to eventually handling it all like a professional.”

The production elements involved quite a bit of logistics and setup, all of which the electronic media students had a hand in coordinating to some degree. The event was broadcast on six large screens at the Southern Ohio Medical Center, which played host to the fundraiser. Students were actively involved in all aspects, from operating three cameras to rolling in video clips and providing audio and graphics support.

For Jake Conley, a first-year electronic media major, the opportunity to work a live event is something he embraces. “One of the best parts is that we get a complete picture of what is happening while it’s happening. If something goes wrong, it’s up to us to fix it and keep things moving. It’s a huge adrenaline  
rush,” said Conley. Other students who participated include Josh Epperson, Mitch Sutton, Nick Malavenda and Jess Lyons.

Dave Surgalski, assistant director and instructor in electronic media, is quick to interject a dose of reality regarding the live production projects with which students become involved. This is the third year that Surgalski has worked with students for the Red Cross event. “It’s one thing to do the art for the art of it; it’s another to accept the real-word pressure that comes along with getting paid to do the art. One day, these students will have terrific careers in the industry, so the hands-on approach to learning they’re getting is just as important as what goes on within the four walls of a classroom,” Surgalski added.

Another important lesson for the five students who participated in the “Dancing” event (and others like it) is the impact their efforts have upon local communities. Vicky Hatcher, who served as chair of this year’s Red Cross fundraiser, recognizes the value of having Ohio University Southern and its students as partners. “The students not only had the opportunity for hands-on experiences with the media equipment, but also learned how to relate and work with the public. We would not be able to offer the variety of entertainment, from interviews in the Green Room to interviews in the crowd and more, if it were not for this group of fine students and their professors,” she said.  

“Dancing with Our Stars” raised more than $170,000 for area Red Cross programs, including Lawrence County. Congratulations to the Southern Campus electronic media students and faculty for a job well done.