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UCSD approves campus card for purchasing morning-after pill from vending machine

Students at UC San Diego will soon be able use their campus cards and TritonCash to pay for the morning-after pill, along with a number of other health-related items, from a campus “Wellness Vending Machine.”

As reported by The Triton, UCSD’s University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB) has approved the new vending machine for sale of generic Plan B pills via the vending machine. The move makes UC San Diego the third UC campus to sell the morning-after pill via vending machine, following UC Davis last March and UC Santa Barbara in 2015.

The new Wellness Vending Machine will sell a range of other health products including Advil, pregnancy tests and condoms. Students can access the vending machine 24/7 and need to present their student ID card, as the vending machine will only accept TritonCash.

The approval of Plan B as an included vending machine item follows a recently rejected student council proposal to sell the pills in the existing “Essentials Vending Machine” located in the university’s Geisel Library. Following rejection by the library director, UCAB along with leaders of the Plan B initiative, campus administrators and Student Wellness department agreed on a second, separate vending machine to be located in UCSD’s student union building.

“UCAB felt that many students need Plan B and other wellness products but have a difficult time obtaining them,” said Ashley Awe, Chair of UCAB, in a Triton interview. “By housing this vending machine, UCAB hopes to help bridge this gap for students.”

UCSD’s student council is also working with Student Health Services to determine which products are purchased the most and what other items might be needed. Prioritized items for now are condoms, Plan B and pregnancy tests, but suggestions from students for additional items are welcomed.

UCSD is the latest campus to join a seemingly growing trend in selling Plan B pills in campus vending machines. Other instances include Shippensburg University as far back as 2010, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, Stanford University, Dartmouth College and Pomona College.

“This machine is meant to bridge the gap between what is easily accessible on campus and off,” said Caroline Siegel-Singh, student council senator, in an interview with the Triton. “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.”

The Wellness Vending Machine is expected to reach completion of both funding and installation by the spring of 2018.

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