ASWSU senator pushes for emergency contraceptive vending machine

Nikolai Sublett close to passing his first resolution to support survivors of sexual assault



Planned Parenthood employee Victoria Sundin demonstrates how to use the facility’s emergency contraception vending machine.

MOLLY WILK, Evergreen reporter

Editor’s note: This article contains topics that may be triggering to some. 

ASWSU Senator Nikolai Sublett has made it his goal to stir up the conversation on campus about preventing sexual assault and helping survivors. 

A junior majoring in business administration and management, this is Sublett’s first year in ASWSU and he is already close to getting his first major resolution approved. 

Sublett said he has been working toward adding a vending machine offering emergency and possibly non-emergency contraceptives, such as Plan-B and condoms. 

The resolution is now being sent to the rules council. Sublett said he hopes it will be approved sometime this week. 

Bringing emergency contraceptives to campus will help those who do not have transportation to Walmart or Planned Parenthood. It will also make it easier to get contraceptives when driving conditions get worse in the winter, he said.

Sublett said he was inspired by a video posted on the Instagram account Barstoolwazzu of people talking about not knowing where to buy Plan-B. 

The vending machine is to be installed in a discrete area on campus and will be surrounded by resources, such as information on sexual assault forensic exams and lawyers available to students. Sublett said he hopes this will be a jumping-off point in his efforts to prevent sexual assault. 

He said having the machine in a private area will help students feel more comfortable purchasing emergency contraceptives. 

Sublett said he plans on using these resources for his next resolution to start educating peers and destigmatizing the conversation surrounding sexual assault. 

“You make it prevalent,” he said. “You make it a normal conversation that everyone talks about.” 

Based on Sublett’s research on existing studies, 5,570 WSU students have or will face sexual assault in their lifetime. He said he hopes that as more people speak out about their personal experiences, others will feel comfortable doing the same. 

“Speak up,” he said. “If it happened to you, it’s happening to someone else right now. It’s not an easy thing … say it out loud and see how it feels.” 

Jackie Sedano, Women*s Center program coordinator, said the work Sublett has accomplished thus far is invaluable. 

She said she hopes to see the vending machine continue to break down the stigma against emergency contraceptives and promote safe sex and relationships. 

Having the machine accessible will help students feel more comfortable using it. Students purchasing emergency contraceptives do not do so lightly and having them readily available makes the decision a much easier one, Sedano said. 

Sedano said it will soon be up to the student body to continue opening up that conversation and working toward a better understanding of how to prevent sexual assault. 

“There are so many places and so many ways to get involved in this conversation on campus,” she said. “There’s plenty of resources on campus, but also in the community too.”