Plan A fall through? Thankfully, Bowdoin’s Health Center has Plan B—and it’s free.
This Thursday, Peer Health teamed up with the Health Center and the Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Health Education (OGVPE) to host the College’s first annual Plan B Day, an event dedicated to getting Plan B and other contraceptive measures out to Bowdoin students.
“The Health Center always provides free Plan B and reimbursement for Plan B to all Bowdoin students, and that was something we really wanted to spread the news about, as well as then just get it into as many hands as possible,” Peer Health member and event organizer Paloma Aguirre ’23 said. “We already offer these services, totally for free, without insurance and anonymously for students at Bowdoin.”
Taking place in the middle of Dudley Coe Quad, the event ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., ensuring Plan B Day was as accessible and un-intimidating as possible.
“We wanted this to be something where you can come up and grab it, and we don’t even ask your name or anything about yourself, which is something that the Health Center can do and [that] can make people nervous,” Aguirre said.
Sydney Burton ’23, another Peer Health member and organizer of Plan B Day, echoed Aguirre’s thoughts, emphasizing the event’s focus on filling in the gaps of the Health Center’s approach.
“The Health Center is usually closed on the weekends, which is a time when someone might need Plan B,” Burton said. “Getting it out here and seeing other people taking it makes it a lot less daunting.”
Removing Plan B from the context of the Health Center made distribution and education more inclusive and widespread.
“Often, meetings about contraceptives happen behind a closed door, and they rarely involve men,” Julie Gray, a Physician Assistant at the Health Center, said. “It’s been very exciting to show everyone what contraceptive devices look like, how they’re used. I’ve had a lot of great questions which can only happen in a forum like this.”
Including men in the conversation around sexual health, especially the use of Plan B, was one of Peer Health’s goals with this project.
“Specifically for men, it makes it really helpful to have bags already created that already have Plan B and condoms in it so that they can have all of the resources that they want,” Peer Health member Evan Bay ’23 said. “Men most likely won’t get anything other than condoms and lubricant [on their own].”
Besides providing students with access to Plan B, the event distributed condoms, dental dams, lube, various informational pamphlets on sexual health matters and Peer Health stickers. Additionally, Gray had various contraceptive examples on hand—from the IUD to the NuvaRing—to provide further education on the many contraceptive choices available to students.
At the end of the day, the event’s primary purpose was to educate Bowdoin students on the various options they have when it comes to sexual and reproductive health. Whether or not students felt comfortable picking up Plan B at the event, organizers hoped to spread the message about Bowdoin’s free resource.
“As much as we love breaking the stigma around sexual health and having it be in public in broad daylight, some people aren’t yet at that place with their sexual health, and that’s totally okay, so part of this event, too, is letting people know that if they don’t want to pick up Plan B right now, they can get it at anytime in the Health Center,” Aguirre said. “We want to eventually have a Plan B vending machine. Because, again, Bowdoin has always provided this service, so we just want to make it as accessible as possible.”