Brandeis Pro-Choice completes Plan B vending machine project

May 3, 2019

After over two years of work, Brandeis Pro-Choice installed a “Wellness Vending Machine” that is stocked with Plan B and other health products in the second-floor gender neutral bathroom in the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC) on April 16.

Planned Parenthood Generation Action, the organization’s national college program, gave the club a $5,000 grant in October of 2017 to fund the project, and they were given official approval to install the machines that December, according to Susannah Miller ’19, president of Brandeis Pro-Choice.

Brandeis Pro-Choice is a student activism club whose work includes promoting “reproductive rights including safe and legal abortion, comprehensive sex education programs, [and] adequate access to contraception.”

Some of the obstacles that the club encountered included not being able to fit the machine in its original location, making sure that there was enough funding to sustain the machine and finding a pharmaceutical distributor who was willing to sell Plan B to the University Services Department since it does not have a pharmaceutical license, according to Miller.

The products in the vending machine will be available for purchase 24/7. Brandeis’ Health Center also supplies the emergency pregnancy contraceptive and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Miller said that Brandeis was awarded the grant along with about 12 to 14 other chapters the first year that the grant program was launched in 2017. Following the success of the program, Planned Parenthood expanded it to give grants to about 125 chapters across the country.

“Following the installation of the machine, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and excited,” Miller told The Brandeis Hoot. “I’ve seen many current and past Brandeis students say this makes them proud to be associated with Brandeis and students from other schools saying they want to try to implement this on their campuses.”

Miller said that in the future, she hopes that the machines will be able to hold a wider range of menstrual products as well as general wellness products such as Emergen-C, band-aids and Neosporin.

Brandeis Pro-Choice, formerly known as Brandeis University Students for NARAL, holds weekly meetings in Schwartz Hall and holds events throughout the semester. Next year, Kadria Simms ’21 and Thalia Plata ’21 will be co-presidents of the club. Miller said that they want to orient the club more toward project and action-based work and are going to work on the implementation of more sexual education for Brandeis students.

The print version stated that the author of this article was Celia Young. The correct author is Rachel Saal.

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