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ASCSU vice president hopes to add wellness vending machines to campus

ASCSU+vice+president+hopes+to+add+wellness+vending+machines+to+campus
Collegian | Rashida Obika

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to acknowledge that the wellness program has not yet been finalized. 

Almost a quarter of all women ages 22-49 have used emergency contraceptives at least once in their lives. This substantial percentage proves that having access to these products is a necessity for many people. 

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Providing accessibility to these products and other health items to students on campus is a goal of Associated Students of Colorado State University Vice President Alex Silverhart, who has been working to get wellness vending machines set up around campus. 

While this initiative is still currently in the works, the goal would be for these wellness vending machines to mainly contain emergency contraceptive items such as Plan B One-Step contraception, but that isn’t all.

Other items that we are hoping to include are sexual health items, pregnancy tests, Narcan, fentanyl test strips and other over-the-counter medications,” Silverhart wrote in an email. 

Silverhart hopes to partner with the CSU Health Network Pharmacy and sell these items slightly above the price the pharmacy purchases them for but much cheaper than retail costs. His main goal is to keep the price of emergency contraceptives at or below $10. 

Silverhart believes that if the project is able to start with two machines, one could be focused on general students, and the other could be geared toward first-years specifically.

“The general machine would hopefully be placed in a building that is open a majority of the time and accessible to all students,” Silverhart wrote. “The second machine could be placed either in Ram’s Horn (Dining Center) or Durrell (Center), acting as an accessible resource for students living in the dorm.” 

Before this project can secure funding, Silverhart is working with Brianna Riggio, the nursing manager at the CSU Health Network, to write an official proposal to the Office of the President to get the entire initiative approved. 

Riggio fully supports the initiative.

Expanding access to wellness tools is something that many students, staff and parents find important,” Riggio wrote in an email. “Any way we can reach students and help them in prioritizing their health — a lifelong skill we can help foster now — will help them be more successful as students and beyond.”

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Silverhart hopes to utilize his involvement with ASCSU to receive the majority of needed funding through a senate bill. He is also exploring options with outside donors, the university and university advancement.  

Sexual health is a bit of a controversial topic, and Silverhart anticipates some pushback about increasing accessibility to emergency contraceptives on campus from parents and CSU alumni.

“I think it is important to point out that all of the proposed items are already offered on campus,” Silverhart wrote. “The CSU Pharmacy has all of the items we intend to vend, but this project functions to increase accessibility and decrease cost.”

“The CSU Pharmacy is located on the corner of campus and has limited hours during the week and no open hours during the weekend,” Silverhart wrote. “We are not reinventing the wheel. We are responding to student needs and attempting to improve healthcare on campus.”

Affordable condom and pregnancy test access in vending machines would provide a new on-campus resource empowering students to take a more active role in their sexual health.

“These machines would also increase equity, providing a low-cost option for students who may not be able to afford a $40 pill at a nearby convenience store,” Silverhart wrote. “I want students to feel comfortable and safe on their college campus, and part of that comes from having accessible resources.”

“The purpose of these machines is not to make a profit but rather provide affordable and accessible items to students,” Silverhart wrote.

Reach Samy Gentle at news@collegian.com or on Twitter  @samy_gentle_.

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