New vending machine brings health and wellness products to campus


Nicolas Zerbe for The Easterner

The new vending machine located in the PUB. It currently contains condoms, emergency contraceptive and Advil.

By Nicolas Zerbe, Reporter

Condoms, emergency contraceptives and Advil – oh my.

A vending machine containing emergency contraceptives, condoms and Advil has made its way to the PUB. EWU’s Generation Action Club, a Planned Parenthood affiliate, campaigned for the machine which now hangs on the wall of the gender-neutral bathroom on the PUB’s first floor and is ready for use.

In the initial proposal for the machine, members of Generation Action hoped to see it carry health and wellness supplies such as tampons, condoms, dental dams, lubricant, ibuprofen and emergency contraceptive, according to Generation Action’s President, McKenzie Small.

In a survey conducted by the club, the most requested items for the machine were Plan B, condoms and tampons.

Though the machine doesn’t carry everything originally proposed, it’s currently stocked with a limited selection of condoms, emergency contraceptive and Advil, priced competitively with retail stores. The machine will be continually reviewed to make sure that its items are meeting student needs.

“When we were campaigning for this, we wanted it at-cost,” said Small. “So not $50 at Safeway, not the $30 at Bi-Mart, really accessible to students — and cost, you know, $25.”

The university plans to keep the pricing affordable for students, currently listing Trojan condoms at $3.99, Advil at $4.49 and AfterPill Emergency Contraception at just $25.

“The intent is to price products so that the cost is as low as possible for students while remaining cost-neutral to the university,” said Director of Wellness and Recreation Programs, Tricia Hughes.

Sales from the machine, which is maintained by EWU Dining Services, will go toward a monthly service fee which helps cover the processing cost of credit cards as well as manage the machine’s inventory. 

EWU is one of about two dozen universities in the U.S. to have a contraceptive vending machine, Hughes says, Stanford, Dartmouth and Yale being among the few.

Having easy access to contraceptives is an important thing, according to Psychology and Human Sexuality Professor, Jillene Seiver.

“Having something available that can be bought without any kind of face to face contact will be an advantage,” said Seiver. “Being able to go buy it where they don’t have to look anyone in the eye could help a lot of people.”