A vending machine offering the Plan B emergency contraceptive pill will soon be installed at the University of California San Diego – an effort driven by students who believe there's a need for this kind of resource on campus.
After much back-and-forth, the vending machine is set to be installed in the Price Center at the heart of the La Jolla campus sometime this quarter.
The machine will offer Plan B pills – also known as “the-morning-after” pills – condoms, pregnancy tests and other pharmacy products. The Plan B pill is used as an emergency contraceptive, meant to be taken within three days of unprotected sex.
UC San Diego students will be able to access the so-called “Wellness Vending Machine” 24 hours a day, seven days a week with their student ID card.
The machine will only accept “Triton Cash,” the university’s form of currency, a pre-paid spending account linked directly to a student’s campus ID card. According to the UC San Diego website, Triton Cash can be loaded onto an ID via checks, credit and debit cards. It’s available to all students, staff, faculty and visitors.
Originally, the Associated Students organization on campus pushed to get the Plan B pills loaded into an existing vending machine in the Geisel Library, but the proposal was rejected by the library director.
Students, including Sixth College Senator Caroline Siegel-Singh, then set their sights on installing the machine elsewhere on campus. Earlier this week, the University Centers Advisory Board approved the installation of the vending machine in the Price Center.
Siegel-Singh and the students behind the efforts say it’s all about giving students access to affordable and immediate care.
According to Siegel-Singh, only 28 percent of UC students currently have access to their own car. This proved to be an obstacle for one of her roommates during her freshman year who had a difficult time obtaining an emergency contraceptive following a sexual assault.
“The process of acquiring Plan B – between Uber (rides) and the product itself – was close to $100,” she told NBC 7.
No everyone agrees with the machine being on campus.
“I guess they’re maybe concerned about students being too sexually active,” said UC San Diego student Jennifer Tran.
However, Tran can see why some students support the installation of the machine.
“I feel like (being sexually active) is going to happen whether or not, and we have to do our best to help support them and give them a safe environment to do it in,” she added.
This makes UC San Diego the third university in the UC system to sell Plan B via vending machine. UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara each have machines on their campuses.