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SUNY Upstate launches first vending machine offering emergency contraception

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  • Staff Report 

SUNY Upstate Medical University has launched its first vending machine offering emergency contraception, a project led by medical students Serena Schmitt and Olivia Preston. Recognizing the challenges and stigma often associated with obtaining the “morning-after pill,” the students embarked on a mission to make it more accessible and affordable for their peers. Their effort, in collaboration with the NY Birth Control Access Project, marks a significant milestone as the first of its kind in a SUNY school.

The initiative began with research into similar projects on other campuses and involved gathering student support through a petition, which demonstrated a strong demand for the service on campus. The project received backing from the university’s Student Government and secured funding to cover the startup costs, ensuring the pill’s price was kept to $10, making it financially accessible to students.

The vending machine, situated inside the campus library, offers 24-hour access to not only emergency contraception but also common over-the-counter medications, reinforcing the idea that reproductive health is an integral part of overall wellness. Preston and Schmitt hope their successful implementation will serve as a model for other schools, streamlining the process of enhancing access to reproductive health products on college campuses.