The VPA Equipment Cage is located in the Shaffer Art Building, room 232. The Cage provides equipment to students and faculty in the Department of Film and Media Arts (FMA), the School of Art (SOA), and students currently enrolled in FMA studio courses. 

The Spring 2024 semester operating hours are: 

  • Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., 2 - 5 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The Cage provides audio, lighting, photography, filmmaking, animation, and VR equipment. A complete and sortable list can be found here. Borrowing equipment from the VPA Equipment Cage must be for class-related work. For student reservations, equipment may be kept for four-day periods from Thursday to Monday or Friday to Tuesday. Student equipment reservations must be made in person up to two weeks in advance or a minimum of one week in advance. Students may not check out gear on Wednesdays. Students may keep equipment for longer periods during holiday and semester breaks. 


Visit the VPA Equipment Cage Blackboard Organization page for all up-to-date information, including Cage and Labs operating hours, forms, policies, and frequently asked questions. For questions or access requests to the Blackboard Organization page, please email vpacage@syr.edu.  

In order to access the Cage, students must fill out and sign a registration form each academic year. Follow the directions on the top of the form. Please wait for a follow-up email that indicates that registration is complete. 


Beginning Fall 2022, we no longer require individuals to purchase personal property insurance. The information below also appears on our registration form.

You (“Borrower”) are liable for each and every item that has been released to you. This means paying for repair or full replacement cost, or replacement cost of a comparable substitute, at the discretion of the University. Only equipment used for class-related work will be covered by the University's Inland Marine Policy. The deductibles are $100 per item and $500 per claim. The total claim limit is $250,000, not to exceed $50,000 per item. Students are not insured for use unrelated to specific coursework.  Borrowing equipment from the VPA Equipment Cage must be for class-related work.

In the case that there is damage to or loss of equipment, the Borrower must file a claim and submit payment to the Cage. The Borrower will have a hold placed on their Cage account and will be unable to borrow more equipment until the payment is received and processed by the Cage. If a claim is filed, the office of Risk Management will ask for proof of the required coursework, such as description of assignment in the syllabus. Borrower must have taken all reasonable precautions to protect the equipment while in their possession for a claim to be considered, and the Borrower will be financially responsible if a claim is rejected or not covered. To file a claim, follow the procedure outlined at:


*Note: the Cage does not handle insurance matters or claims. All inquiries must be directed to Risk Management (more information at link above).


The Cage also manages lab and production spaces in Shaffer Art Building. Please note that equipment and production spaces may only be reserved in person. The computer art lab (016), photography digital print lab and darkroom (036), and video editing suites (001) are open only during lab hours. 

These spaces are only available to students and faculty in the Department of Film and Media Arts and students currently enrolled in FMA studio courses. 

Calendar availability for Shaffer classrooms, production spaces, and labs are accessible here. Visit the Answers pages for instructions on booking spaces for faculty and students.

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