WSU to install contraceptive machine next month

Machine’s revenue funds its products



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

JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor

WSU will be placing a contraceptive vending machine in the Compton Union Building by the end of October, offering pregnancy tests, contraceptives and Advil.

Nikolai Sublett, senior business management major, created the concept for the machine when he served as an ASWSU senator, bringing the idea to fruition with support from Cougar Health Services and Women*s Center Director Amy Sharp, he said.

“We did a lot of talking about a vending machine on campus,” he said. “The biggest thing I was passionate about was having it in a discrete location, … and to make sure everything in the machine was as affordable as possible.”

Sublett said prices will vary depending on the product, and some of the prices are yet to be determined. Some items, like emergency contraceptives, are likely going to cost $15.

“If we’re buying Advil for like $10 a bottle, I don’t think it is realistic. We might be selling it for a dollar,” he said “This revenue is going back into the fund to buy more products, still having a little bit of revenue for if the machine breaks.”

ASWSU considered allowing students to use Cougar Cash to pay for the products but ultimately decided against the idea, so the machine will operate like traditional vending machines, much like the contraceptive vending machine at Planned Parenthood. 

The machine will be on the ground floor at the CUB. The positives of this placement are that the machine will be in a secluded spot but will still be accessible to students, Sublett said. 

“The big thing I wanted is accessibility and privacy which can sometimes be contradicting,” he said. “We considered the CUB, the Chinook or the Women*s Center.”

At first, ASWSU considered the idea of an outdoor machine, he said. However, that idea was abandoned to keep the machine’s products at a certain temperature and consider the lack of privacy for students using it.

Sublett said there has not been much opposition to creating the machine, and administrators have provided their support.

Kate Dellinger, first-year psychology major on the pre-medicine track, said she supports the construction of the machine and students’ ability to make a choice of whether or not to use the offered items. 

“It’s a choice that you make. Everybody should be able to make that choice for yourself and your body,” Dellinger said. “That’s really cool to hear about that addition and I think it’s a very good choice.”

Ethan Tice, sophomore mechanical engineering major, said he had not heard about the construction of the machine but thought it was a positive development.

Tice said he thought it was a good idea to construct the machine because many people in college engage in sexual activity, and the machine could be useful to them. Students would have easy access to the products within the CUB.

In the future, Sublett said he hopes WSU can begin offering some of these products to people through Cougar Safe Rides, as well as through ASWSU to bring more awareness to sexual assault prevention.

“That’s something I passed a resolution on to try to get more information out,” he said. “It started to bring a lot more awareness to it and people saw a lot more attention to it. We’re trying to normalize those conversations. That’s something I’m very passionate about.”