The University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB) approved a vending machine on Tuesday that will sell generic Plan B pills in Price Center. The approval will make UC San Diego the third University of California to sell the morning after pill through a vending machine after UC Davis installed one last March and UC Santa Barbara in 2015.
The approval follows the recently rejected Associated Students (AS) proposal to install Plan B pills in the Essentials Vending Machine in Geisel Library. Following their rejection by the Library Director, UCAB reached out to the leaders of the Plan B initiative, Sixth College Senator Caroline Siegel-Singh, AS Vice President Ryan Moosighi, and Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Wellness Karen Calfas, to consider their proposal at Price Center.
“UCAB felt that many students need Plan B and other wellness products but have a difficult time obtaining them,” said Ashley Awe, the Chair of UCAB. “By housing this vending machine, UCAB hopes to help bridge this gap for students.”
The “Wellness Vending Machine” will sell other health products such as Advil, pregnancy tests, and condoms. Students can access these products 24/7 (with their student ID after hours), and the vending machine will only accept TritonCash.
“This machine is meant to bridge the gap between what is easily accessible on campus and off,” Siegel-Singh said. “I really hope that this machine can help make comprehensive reproductive healthcare products accessible to all students who need them as well as promote the idea that academic success is tied to personal wellness. I’m excited for the Associated Students to be able to provide an additional service to the students we represent.”
Awe said that while the proposal is “contingent on administration finding a space that can house a vending machine, we have every intention of trying to house the machine in Price Center East, hopefully in the Commuter Lounge space.”
AS is currently working with Student Health Services to determine which products are accessed the most and what would be needed. While the priorities on the list are condoms, Plan B, and pregnancy tests, Siegel-Singh says AS is open to suggestions from students. Siegel-Singh also aims for the completion of the project, in terms of installation and funding, by Spring Quarter of 2018.
“We are hoping for as speedy a timeline as possible so that we may serve student needs most effectively,” Awe said. “UCAB hopes that this machine will be a valuable service to students.”
UCSD follows the growing trend of universities selling Plan B pills in campus vending machines, with Shippensburg University being the first to do so in 2010 and UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, and Pomona College following suit. There are reportedly over 30 other campuses considering similar proposals.
Anabel King is a staff writer at The Triton.