Tuesday, July 16

Vending machine with safe sex, health products installed in Ackerman

A new vending machine that sells condoms, Plan B pills and school supplies was installed at Ackerman A-level on Thursday. (Kathy Zhou/Daily Bruin)

A new vending machine that sells condoms, Plan B pills and school supplies was installed at Ackerman A-level on Thursday. (Kathy Zhou/Daily Bruin)

Students will now be able to access a vending machine on campus that provides birth control products, condoms and school supplies.

Associated Students UCLA and the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center partnered with UCLA Vending Services to install the vending machine in Ackerman A-Level on Thursday. The main goal of the machine is to provide students with cheaper access to birth control products, said John Bollard, chief of operations at the Ashe Center.

The vending machine sells birth control products, condoms, pregnancy tests and school supplies such as note cards. Bollard said the machine has been fully stocked since Thursday, and students can use the vending machine during Ackerman A-Level operating hours.

Bollard said ASUCLA and the Ashe Center installed the vending machine in Ackerman A-level because it is open longer than Bruin Health Pharmacy, which was previously the primary location for students to get these products.

The Ashe Center will be stocking the machine and will not be profiting from it, Bollard added.

“The vending machines sell Plan B for $20, which normally costs $45 to $50,” Bollard said. “We’re selling it for pretty close to the acquisition cost.”

Bollard said ASUCLA, the Ashe Center and UCLA Vending Services may decide to install vending machines at more locations on campus, such as on the Hill.

Bollard added he wants to meet with students in the Student Health Advisory Committee, which advocates for adequate health care policies for students, and the Undergraduate Students Association Council by the end of the month before choosing additional locations.

Bollard said the Ashe Center and ASUCLA installed the vending machine because several UCLA students reached out to the Ashe Center saying they wanted vending machines similar to UC Davis’ safe sex and health product vending machines.

Cooper Gee, a second-year psychology student at UC Davis, said that he thinks the vending machines are useful for students.

“The vending machines are an incredible resource, especially considering they can be bought with Aggie cash,” Gee said. “I like how they act as a reminder or safety net for sexual mishaps that may occur.”

Aggie cash is money UC Davis students have stored on their identification cards that they can use to pay for food or other services on campus.

UCLA Vending Services will send statistics about the number of products sold to ASUCLA and the Ashe Center to assess if students are taking advantage of the products, Bollard said.

Several UCLA students said they liked the vending machine for making safe sex products more accessible.

Aaron Knuteson, a third-year psychobiology student, said he thinks the vending machine is beneficial to students because he thinks it is easy to find on campus.

“It’s better to have easy access to these kind of products rather than have to go look for them, which can be difficult (to do on campus),” he said.

Hannah Erickson, a third-year psychobiology student, said she thinks the vending machines will make health products more accessible to students but said she is concerned that students will not know how to use the products safely.

“I think the vending machines are a cool thing but I also feel like it’s important that people know how to use the products properly,” she said. “A lot of people wouldn’t know how to use birth control or emergency contraceptives, for example.”

Bollard said the Ashe Center and ASUCLA are open to adding other products to the machine in the future depending on student interest and if UCLA Vending Services is able to add more products.

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Opinion staff columnist

Merz is a staff columnist for the Opinion section.

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