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Katherine Gerberich / Katherine Gerberich

The first vending machine was installed in John Jay lobby. Two more machines will be installed at other campus locations in the coming months.

Updated August 21 at 8:21 p.m.

Vending machines with emergency contraception pills, condoms, tampons, and Advil will be installed in lobbies of John Jay Hall, Shapiro Hall, and Uris Hall for the upcoming fall semester as part of a Columbia Health initiative to increase the accessibility of contraception.

One vending machine has already been installed in John Jay. The pilot project, initiated by the Columbia College and Columbia Engineering student councils, will place two more at different locations in the coming months.

Student councils have attempted to stock free tampons and pads in bathrooms on campus for years, but pilot programs have previously failed due to a lack of steady funding.

Items are not subsidized, but emergency contraception is available for free at Medical Services during regular hours. MyWay emergency contraception pills sell for $40 each, while condoms cost $3.99 per box, and a pack of three tampons costs $2.49.

According to Melanie Bernitz, Associate Vice President of Columbia Health, the vending machines were placed in the front of each lobby so that students would not need swipe access to purchase these products.

Because of the small size of the machines, Bernitz added that she not foresee any privacy concerns, but would be open to suggestions from students.

“Student leaders made it very clear that this was about easy access to emergency contraception,” Bernitz said. “Going forward, we are looking for student feedback and we will be evaluating responses to follow-up in the future.”

karen.xia@columbiaspectator.com | @ColumbiaSpec

contraception vending machine
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