If you’re a student at Brandeis University and you need to take Plan B, all you have to do is go to the student health center — unless it’s a weekend, that is. Or if it’s after 6 p.m. Or before 9 a.m. Or if you’re not female. But now, a group on campus, Brandeis Pro-Choice, is looking to change all that.
An article in The Boston Globe on Thursday reported that the group has already secured a $5,000 grant from Planned Parenthood for the project, and is now in the process of working with administration to nail down logistics. They hope to have the vending machine in place by the end of the school year.
These students proved how achievable making an important change like this can be — but the biggest takeaway here is that Boston University needs to step up its game. With just a few students making a dedicated effort to effect change at Brandeis, they are well on their way to seeing some real results. And this is definitely something worth putting effort into.
At BU, we have Student Health Services, and we have the Condom Fairy — and those things are great — but they are by no means a replacement for what Brandeis is trying to do. We live in a world where women are the ones who have to deal with the consequences of unprotected sex. That’s not fair, but it’s also not something that can be changed overnight. However, we could do a lot more to support these women. This vending machine would offer a really important safety net that students could really benefit from, and it wouldn’t be all that hard to implement.
It’s so disappointing that schools don’t see the importance of these things on their own. They should be jumping at the chance to provide this kind of accessibility for something that would give their students so much peace of mind. But sometimes, that’s how things go. When administration is a little behind the times, it’s up to students to lead the way, and do what it takes to implement change on campus.
Even if BU’s administration doesn’t step up, there are so many groups on campus who are more than capable. Reproductive rights groups here could be applying for the same kind of funding that helped Brandeis see success. Even our Student Government has more than enough funding of their own — they should be the ones spearheading this project. That’s exactly the kind of thing they’re here for.
And why stop at Plan B? These vending machines could have pregnancy tests, condoms and tylenol — a whole mini pharmacy of things that students might need, especially things that students might want to buy discreetly.
What’s more — there are undoubtedly students who don’t just need Plan B because they had unprotected sex — they need it because they were raped. The statistics for sexual assault on college campuses speak for themselves. After that kind of trauma, it is completely understandable that someone wouldn’t want to go to a drug store or to SHS to get Plan B. A vending machine could offer these students a far better option.
When it comes down to it, this is a health and safety issue. Getting a Plan B vending machine on campus would show that BU is looking out for its students. That should be something that faculty, administration, students and parents alike can all get behind. If we want to be a forward-thinking school where students feel safe and supported in every aspect of their collegiate lives, putting a Plan B vending machine on campus would be a big step in the right direction.