What if you could get the morning-after pill with the press of a button? At University of California Davis, one student is making that possible. Parteek Singh, a 21-year-old senior, was running for the student government senator position when one of his friends suggested the idea of a Plan B vending machine.
Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania has had one for a few years, and students have really appreciated the accessibility. "Here at Davis we only have one pharmacy that is open 24/7, and a couple of my friends shared incidents when the pharmacy has ran out of emergency contraceptives on a Friday night and they weren't getting a new shipment until Monday," Singh said. It's these kinds of situations that inspired him to get a health and wellness vending machine as a resource on campus.
"After seeing that other campuses have these resources, it made the idea seem more realistic for me," he said. As a senator for UC Davis, Singh made the vending machine happen. It's located at the Activities and Recreation Center — one of the few buildings on campus that's open 18 hours a day. The Plan B costs $30 for students, when it would normally be about $50 at a drugstore. The vending machine also contains pregnancy tests, condoms, feminine products, and other over-the-counter medications.
"The students are really excited to see this resource on campus," Singh said. "There's been nothing but positive feedback so far." This kind of accessibility to emergency contraceptives should be available on all college campuses. The vending machine will undoubtedly promote productive conversations about sexual health among students.
It's so much easier to walk across campus for the items you need than go to a pharmacy with limited hours. It takes the stress and anxiety out of preventative care. Here's to hoping for many more Plan B vending machines on college campuses throughout the country!