Asking for support made emergency contraceptive fundraiser a success

Emergency contraceptives are expensive; WSU pharmacy students held fundraiser to give them out for free

People+are+sensitive+about+emergency+contraception.+The+fundraiser+did+not+start+out+well%2C+but+succeeded+in+the+end.

COURTESY OF BROOK KOTLARZ

People are sensitive about emergency contraception. The fundraiser did not start out well, but succeeded in the end.

ANNIE HAGER, Evergreen reporter

Students from WSU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences held a fundraiser to purchase emergency contraceptives, which will be provided to students for free.

Brook Kotlarz, junior liaison of WSU’s chapter of the Washington State Pharmacy Association and chair of Pharmacists for Reproductive Education, created the fundraiser along with two other WSU pharmacy students. 

The idea for this fundraiser came from wanting to improve public access to contraceptive education, Kotlarz said. 

Koltarz said she is also working on a project that would provide online education events. During these events, students would be able to talk about emergency contraceptives, including how to get them and how to afford them.

“We recognize [that] the cost of emergency contraceptives are expensive,” she said. 

Kennedy Erickson, project co-lead and second-year WSU pharmacy student, said the team held a survey during an educational presentation where they were able to identify financial barriers for people trying to access emergency contraceptives.

Plan B One-Step is $50 for the demographic where emergency contraceptives are used, Kotlarz said. This price is expensive for the consumer. 

The team wanted to find a way to hold a contraceptive drive that would help them raise funds. This would allow the team to purchase emergency contraceptions and give them away for free, along with their educational pieces, she said.

In fall 2021, Kotlarz said she and her team are going to be distributing emergency contraceptives and education during Week of Welcome. 

The main purpose of this fundraiser is to provide as much educational resources as they can to students on the Pullman campus, Kotlarz said.

“It really goes to both benefit the pharmacy students because we get to interact with people, tell them about emergency contraceptives [and] educate the public,” she said. “Then for Pullman students, we are telling them about what their resources are in the area.”

The fundraiser was really hard at first, she said. People were reporting the team’s Facebook page and trying to take down their posts. 

Kotlarz said the team knew that was going to happen when the project started because people are sensitive about emergency contraception and sexual health. 

“We’re all about educating people so that they can make the choice [as to] whether or not [emergency contraceptives] are right for them,” Kotlarz said. 

The fundraiser began to explode after changing their approach on social media, she said. 

They received a lot of funds from WSPA, pharmacy student members and WSU alumni, Kotlarz said. 

“The day that we got an outpouring was the day that I came out and genuinely asked for support,” she said. 

Kotlarz would love to hold another fundraiser and bring it to more areas in Washington, she said.

“I really want to do something similar in Yakima because Yakima County has some of the highest rates of unintended pregnancy in the state,” Kotlarz said.