University vending machines offer more than just soda and candy
Source: Shutterstock

The internet is buzzing with reports of a bacon vending machine in Ohio State University, sparking a discussion on whether vending machines should be offering more than the usual candy and soda treats. The machine has proven so popular that it has to be restocked four to five times per day…

On December 4th, the Ohio Pork Council launched their first-ever bacon vending machine, located temporarily on Ohio State University’s campus. It will remain there until December 13.

Source: ABC6

As finals week approach, the vending machine has been a hit with students (and teachers!) looking to refuel themselves amidst preparation for exams. The machine offers snacks such as cooked bacon strips and bacon bits for just US$1. Proceeds from the bacon snacks go towards the university’s meat science program.

But unique vending machines are nothing new on college campuses. While the bacon vending machine is the first of its kind, the University of California, Davis made headlines in 2017 when it launched their ‘Wellness To Go’ Vending Machine.

This vending machine offers Plan B – a popular emergency contraceptive in the US (commonly known as the morning-after pill), along with tampons, pregnancy tests, condoms and Advil.

This innovative idea appears to be gaining traction among US universities as it was recently reported that Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, also plans to install a vending machine with emergency contraception for students very soon.

Source: CNN

“The point of this is to make Plan B more accessible and to make medications in general more accessible. Hopefully this will set a precedent for more machines to show up around campus that contain other things so Yale students don’t have to go out of their way to go to CVS, especially students from the new colleges,” said Yale College Council representative Ileana Valdez, who spearheaded the installation effort, as reported by the Yale Daily News.

The Mount Vernon Campus at George Washington University, Washington DC, will soon offer vending machines for everyday items such as toiletries and medicine. The machines will be provided by Vengo, a company that makes kiosks and vending machines.

Although other Vengo machines dispersing Advil, charger cables and earbuds are available across the university, student leaders are looking to get them onto the Mount Vernon campus, too.

The idea for the vending machines came about when Student Association Executive Vice President Ojani Walthrust realised that students living on the Mount Vernon campus do not have access to basic neccessities and would have to walk off campus to a pharmacy in order to get the items.

Through a research report, he found that there were already similar vending machines at universities like University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Davis.

Meanwhile, Western Kentucky University (WKU) installed phone charging vending machines  on campus earlier this year, which dispense one-time use chargers for iPhones and Android phones. Each charger costs US$7.49 plus tax.

Source: WKU Herald

The Power Drop vending machines at WKU are useful for students on-the-go who find themselves with a dead battery on campus. The machines offer pre-packaged and charged phone tabs that plug in to the bottom of a phone for one-time use. The University of Sydney also offers a similar kind of vending machine for charging phones.

Another popular vending machine trend that’s picking up across universities worldwide are stationery vending machines, such as those at Birmingham City University and the University of East Anglia.

Does your university have a cool vending machine? Or perhaps you have a cool idea for one! Let us know in the comments below!

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