Are campus vending machines sub-par?

Image of Vending machine and drink machine in J-School.
Photo courtesy: Alexis Thornton

Vending machines are an essential part of life at Florida A&M University.
The vending machines on campus are owned and operated by the company Gilly
Vending Machines. Gilly is owned by a woman by the name of Gilda Rosenberg, and it
is the largest independently owned vending machine company in the nation.
Gilly serves numerous universities, 800 hospitals in the nation including St. Jude
Children’s Hospital in Memphis and other children’s hospitals as well as 75% of the
country’s military bases.

However, just like any other company, there are improvements that need to be made.

“They could improve vending machines by making them more liable because
sometimes they eat up my money and they never return it. I would like to see more
different water options because I don’t like Aquafina. I feel like they are necessary
especially if you have class all day on campus and just want a snack until dinner or
lunch or until they leave campus,” FAMU student Jada Henderson said.

“I am pescatarian but I was a vegetarian for years and I would have loved to see more
vegan or vegetarian options,” Henderson added.
Other students at FAMU they want to see more vegan options added to the vending
machines on campus. Another issue cited by FAMU students is keeping up with expired
and old snacks and drinks.

“Anything dealing with all of our vending machines from all over, we immediately get
alerts from a incorporation called Cantaloupe Incorporation. We also have an
observation in Miami who travels around to different vending machines to ensure they
are working correctly. If any of the snacks or drinks are expired, the students can
contact us through email or web for a refund. Students can get their refund back
through Zelle, Venmo or through their student account,” said Mary Diorio, senior
development officer at Gilly.

Gilly says it has healthy snacks a lot of people are not aware of. Gilly teamed up with a
program known as “Fit Pick,” which is a program that provides healthy snacks. Many of
these snacks are organic, low carb, sugar free, kosher, low fat and gluten free.

“I personally feel like when the dining halls close, it’s hard to get something to snack on
late at night. There’s some college students that have dietary restrictions and it’s hard to
get variety when you’re restricted to only eating in the dining hall. Accessibility to vegan
food options would definitely be helpful for those that are only able to eat vegan,” FAMU
student Leah Sinclair said.