I am a returning student to the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and I am happy to be back in school after having retired from a thirty year career in the insurance industry. It’s exciting to be on campus and learn new subjects.  

Admittedly, I’ve been late to class a few times and in need of a diet coke or bottled water, and I’ve not been able to find a vending machine. My observation is that we need more vending machines on campus here at UTK so that it will be more convenient to get something to eat and drink. Vending machines are easy to use and the prices for drinks and snacks are inexpensive. They save time and money. Everybody wins with the addition of more vending machines.  

We have the fantastic UT Bookstore, the Pod Markets, and food vendors where we are able get snacks, and they are great. But when you are in a hurry and need something quick, especially, right before class, getting a diet coke or a snack is just not possible because there are not any vending machines nearby. Additionally, the UT Bookstore, Pod Markets and other food vendors are either closed or are very busy, and this is especially true during the fall and spring semesters. 

There is a real need for adding more vending machines. Students, faculty and staff get thirsty and hungry at least every two hours and keeping alert and on top of things requires that we get something to eat and drink. We are just not ourselves when we get hungry. My personal favorite, all-time best candy bar is Snickers and just like their television commercials indicate- we don’t do as well when we are hungry. We are either too weak or too grouchy when we are hungry. We are distracted easily and are unable to pay attention in class. Additionally, everybody wants their professors to be in a good mood and happy. 

We need more vending machines in each building, and we need a wide variety and achieving this could be done immediately or phased in over time. The university could start by putting them on the first floor in ten additional buildings across the campus and then increase that number as necessary by putting them in additional buildings and on more floors of every building.  

Installing more vending machines mean would make getting a snack easier. We would not have to walk across campus to one of the stores which would require more time. Using a vending machine is a simple process of putting money into a machine and getting something to drink or eat. The vending machines are operated by cash or credit cards and it is a customer friendly process. It just saves everybody time. 

Prices for drinks and snacks in vending machines are cheaper. A drink and a snack can be purchased at a vending machine for less than three dollars whereas a purchase for the same items at one of the Pod markets, UT Bookstore or food vendors would be almost four dollars. Having more vending machines would be better for the students, faculty and staff because it would save them money.

Adding more vending machines helps everybody. They are easy to maintain and having a variety of snacks and drinks is very simple. Putting vending machines in each building and on the first floor would be all that’s required. It takes pressure off the Pod markets and the bookstore. Students could get a snack right before class. It would be a convenient way to help everyone.

Everybody wins at UTK with the addition of a few more vending machines! Students, Faculty and Staff all benefit. Plus, any visitor to campus will also benefit because they would be able to save time and money too.

Terry Davenport is a senior studying political science and can be reached at tdaven13@vols.utk.edu

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