Incoming University of Michigan dormitory residents will find condoms in vending machines alongside snacks and soft drinks.
The 2013-14 is the first full school year with condom-stocked machines in campus dorms, according to AnnArbor.com. They were introduced in April, then removed for the summer when children bunk in dorm rooms for summer camps.
Students asked housing staff in 2012 to install free condom dispensers in dorm bathrooms, said university spokesman Peter Logan. He said housing officials didn't buy that idea but instead opted to add condoms to the vending machine wares. They sell for $1.
Incoming junior Carly Manes was among those pushing for easy access to condoms for dorm residents.
Condoms are available free at the U-M Health Service, but sexually active students may be too shy to publicly ask for one or may not plan ahead and think to get them, Manes said.
"A lot of dorms hold freshmen and sophomores ... who were having sex on the weekends and didn't have access to condoms," she said. "If that's where you're having sex, that's the most convenient place to have condoms located."
Some colleges and universities began adding contraception to vending machines in the 1980s, and the University of New Hampshire, Vanderbilt University and Boston University all have vending machines that sell condoms.
To help ease any awkwardness, some mentors place condom packets on their room doors. Manes, who served as a peer mentor, said it isn't an ideal solution. She said she once came home to her dorm and found "condom balloons" in the hallway and said she worried that the free condoms on her door had been punctured or compromised.
"I didn't really think it was an effective program," she said.
If a dorm doesn't have readily available condoms, "it's much easier for someone to say, 'All right, just this one time without contraception,'" Manes said. "As opposed to running downstairs and getting a condom."