New Pullman campus kiosk increases access to emergency contraception

A student makes a selection at a new wellness kiosk in the Compton Union Building on the Pullman campus.
The wellness kiosk provides a convenient, confidential, and low-cost way for people to access a variety of over-the-counter health products (photo by Heather Walden/Student Affairs).

The Washington State University Pullman community has a new, convenient way to access emergency contraception and other health products.

A wellness kiosk on the ground floor of the Compton Union Building (CUB) is accessible to everyone – students, faculty, staff, and community members and offers emergency contraceptives as well as a wide range of over-the-counter products such as condoms, pregnancy tests, pain relievers, and cold and allergy medicines.

“I am hopeful that the wellness kiosk will serve as a model for how universities can integrate health and wellness into the fabric of campus life, making it a seamless part of the student experience,” said Bryce Becker, the director of health and safety for the Associated Students of Washington State University (ASWSU). “We’re excited to see the positive changes it will bring to our campus and how it will support our students in their day-to-day lives.”

ASWSU worked with Cougar Health Services (CHS) to bring the kiosk to campus and contracted with SimpliChek, a female-owned company based in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, to provide the kiosk and keep it stocked.

Product prices are comparable to local retail outlets; for example, emergency contraceptives cost $25, the same price found at CHS and Planned Parenthood.

CHS secured a $10,000 grant from the Washington Student Achievement Council to cover the cost of maintaining and stocking the kiosk during the first year. ASWSU will fund the service in subsequent years.

Eliminating barriers

The kiosk has been in the works for several years and reflects a growing trend for such services at universities across the country. While emergency contraceptives are still available at the CHS pharmacy and most insurance plans cover its cost, the kiosk will provide a convenient, confidential, and low-cost way for students to access it. It will also provide access to health products when CHS is closed.

A study published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than one in four college-age women have used emergency contraceptives at least once, and they often face barriers obtaining them. Many consider the process inconvenient, intrusive, and expensive.

Women*s Center Director Amy Sharp said the added privacy the kiosk provides will be very welcomed by students, especially when it comes to purchasing health products.

“There may be trans individuals, for example, who may not feel comfortable seeking Plan B in a pharmacy or the Women*s Center,” she said. “Providing easy access to emergency contraceptives just makes their lives that much better.”

The initiative to bring the wellness kiosk to campus was sparked by WSU alum Nikolai Sublett, who authored a resolution to make it easier access emergency contraceptives on campus as an ASWSU senator. Sublett said the idea came to him when he saw a question from a student on social media about where she could find Plan B (an emergency contraceptive), since local grocery stores were out of stock.

“It got me thinking about the many WSU students who live on or near campus that do not have cars and a convenient way to get Plan B,” Sublett said. “Why not provide it at a location on campus that students frequent every day?”

The wellness kiosk is located next to the restrooms on the CUB’s ground floor and can be accessed during CUB business hours.

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