Senior Staff Writer Ramisa Murshed frequents campus vending machines when she’s either craving a snack, stress eating in the middle of the night, or too lazy to get a real meal. She’s decided to review some of them.
Butler: I’m pretty sure the only vending machines in Butler are drink machines. Which is a scam. Two scams actually. The first scam is that since all the water fountains only have warm water that tastes kind of bad, we have to resort to bottled water from the vending machines for our sources of liquid sustenance. The second is that if we’re hungry, especially during late nights of studying, we have to resort to either the overpriced snacks and baked goods at ButCaf or make the trek all the way to JJ’s. How inconvenient.
Law: I spend a lot of time studying in the Law School, so these vending machines have become my most frequented. There’s a ton of variety, and I love that there’s even a vending machine that will pour out hot coffee (and coffee variations) for less than $2. If you looked at my debit card transactions, most of them are from the vending machines at the Law School.
Milstein: The vending machines in the tunnels connecting from Diana to Milstein would be my favorite ones on campus, but they are CASH ONLY. Who even carries cash anymore? In this economy? Barnard needs to recognize that we are living in the information age, and cash is years behind us. The vending machines in 110 take Apple Pay, but the vending machines in Milstein, supposedly the center for innovation, can’t even take a mere debit card? Do better, Barnard.
International Affairs Building: There are vending machines everywhere. If you have class in 419 and want to get a quick snack or drink, there are vending machines both to your left and right. The vending machines in the IAB also have so much variety; there are snack machines that contain snacks you wouldn’t find elsewhere on campus, there are drink machines, there are ice cream machines, among others. And good news, they accept Flex, card, and cash! So many ways to pay!
The Quad: The snacks in the Quad vending machines aren’t bad, but most of the time, the machines are broken. I like that some of the machines take Barnard points so I don’t feel bad about myself every time I look at my bank statement, but the machines that have the best snacks in them and the ice cream vending machine don’t take Barnard points, which is really disappointing.
NoCo: There are no vending machines in NoCo (that I know of). But there should be. Just like ButCaf, we are forced to buy overpriced items from Joe Coffee instead of having access to vending machines.
Math: The Math building probably has the most underrated vending machines on campus. The snack machines are cheap and have really great snacks in them, and they’ve just introduced a new coffee vending machine! However, these hidden gems are placed in such an unfortunate location; no one ever goes to the math building unless they have a class there, which is probably why the items in the vending machines are so cheap and good. This is the epitome of late-stage capitalism.
Havemeyer: Do you even know where the vending machine is here? Unfortunately, for hungry people who have class in 309, it’s all the way on the seventh floor, so you have to either go up four flights of stairs or take the elevator. It’s near the 7th floor lounge (did you even know that there is a 7th floor lounge?) and only takes Flex. It’s extremely inconvenient for students who are just looking for a quick bite before class.
John Jay: I have nothing against the vending machines in John Jay, other than the fact that they’re literally right next to the dining hall. Why? Because Columbia knows that students will choose to go to John Jay Dining Hall or JJ’s instead of buying snacks from the vending machines to increase institutional revenue.
In conclusion, most of the campus vending machines are pretty much scams to give more money to this institution because they’re filled with snacks that are slightly above average at best in inconvenient locations to make room for dining hall food and cafes on campus. The vending machines in the graduate school buildings are nice, though.