Campus Vending Machines Provide Off- Hour Snack Option

A Quest for the Sweetest Deal$

By Nix Chace and Sarah Bradley

It is not much of a secret that our little campus, tucked away in the woods, is lacking when it comes to accessible food at all hours of the night. Sure, there is the lower-campus POD, open seven days a week for a dorm-dwellers munchie fix, The Flaming Eggplant provides locally sourced food while promoting education for food justice, and apparently the Einstein Bro’s put coffee in their coffee. The greenery is also an option…we’ll let you be the judge of that one.

Excluding the student-run Flaming Eggplant, Evergreen dining services are in contract with Aramark services, a global-wide provider of “food, facilities, and uniforms.” Looking for cheap and easy food on campus becomes further difficult for the numerous evening and weekend students, a time when many of the aforementioned food options are closed. While it is worth swinging by police services to load up on applesauce or granola bars, there is another option hiding just around the corner: vending machines.

A little history about these snack giving robots. Let’s go wayyyy back, to 215 BCE when Hero of Alexandria devised of a machine that released holy water in exchange for a coin inside the temples of Egypt. Eons later, the industrial revolution in England brings us to a prototype of our modern vending machine, providing quick lunches to workers.

So we turn to vending machines. The campus vending machines are all serviced by a company named Evergreen Vending. The name is purely coincidence; this company services the Western Washington and Northwestern Oregon region.

If you are looking for a meal that is both cost efficient and nourishing, the vending machines are not gonna get you there. If that’s what you want, your best bet is to pack your own lunch (duh). But, I get it…it’s not always easy to get to a grocery store and/or food bank with a busy schedule. But, if candy and energy drinks are what you are about, then you are in luck! These snack machines are literally all over campus, providing a slew of candy bars, chips, and soft drinks. We bravely set off to discover the best options that the vending machines have to offer.

1. First floor of library by Photoland

For the first leg of our journey we stepped down to the first floor of the library to the row of  four machines in a dark corner (2 beverage machines, 2 food machines). The machines are accessible for those looking for some quieter study-time, however a steady influx of students shows potential for small-talk among peers and possible friend-making. As far as food options they seemed to cater to the hyped-up “bro”  crowd with various flavors of Redbull and Monster energy drink, as well as “Big Texas” brand of cinnamon rolls and other various enlarged foods. Beverages and foods alike are overpriced, but at least cards are accepted. Generally the environment offers some variety depending on your needs, it being more of the sociable area for vending machines, but still in a somewhat secluded space by tables where students are getting homework done.

sweet deals:

energy drinks for days


gross things 2 avoid:

“grilled reuben”

microwavable burritos

2. Police Services

A short walk away from the library are the two vending machines outside of Police Services. This definitely felt like the worst environment. A Dasani beverage machine adds a 1998 vintage-y feel, especially since the machine does not accept cards. The snack machine next to the beverage machine appeared underutilized as it was full of decent snack options for a dollar. Overall it’s one of the cheapest deals as far as any campus food goes. They are is easy to find, although in an awkward spot outside where it’s often cold and no one is around the area. It is isolated in comparison to the hubbub at the previous vending machines in the library.

sweet deals:

the classic mello yello

snacks for $1


3. 3rd floor of Lab II

After the long journey it took for us to find the rumored coffee vending machine in the Lab II building, student Georgia Ray stated “It’s terrible”. “It’s really bad but it did the job” Ray continued to give their opinion as we excitedly photographed and took notes on the machine itself. The coffee vending machine accepts cards and is located next to your typical snack vending machines in a corner to the left of the 3rd floor of Lab II. CPJ staff member Sarah Bradley boldly took an order on the coffee machine, a cappuccino that only filled 1/3rd of the cup. “I’m into it” Bradley stated after the first sip. After sipping for myself, I can attest that it tasted a lot like cheap hot chocolate (so, not too bad!). However upon ordering a simple black coffee, what the machine spewed out was disappointing to say the least. Quite repulsive, small undetermined bits floated in the beverage, which was the color of black coffee after someone had poured a pint of cream in it. It squirted out of the machine a clear color, and (thankfully) appeared in the cup some shade of brown. While the 75 cent price is undefeatable, the cappuccino was a far superior beverage than the black coffee. Despite the risk of vending machine coffee, the experience this machine offers is overwhelmingly positive.  Plants, a large window and seating area offer a space to talk, relax, or study or make new friends.

sweet deals:

75 cent cappuccino that doesn’t taste as bad as you’d expect

cheap snacks and beverages by the coffee machine offers a variety of options to fulfill your needs

gross things 2 avoid:

black coffee

These are just a few of the vending options that the CPJ boldly advendtured to. Dig into your change jar and check out the myriad of vending services to be found on campus. When on-campus food options get too pricey, don’t be afraid to try out the vending scene that campus has to offer!