Source: Scan 155, in the Carolina Union of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40128, University Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kameron Southerland

This photo housed in the Carolina Union archives depicts a UNC student purchasing something from a vending machine. Vending machines provided sustenance on-the-go for the busy college student.

The focus on dietary measures and nutrition outlined in American Appetites made this picture very interesting to me, especially noting the lack of vending machines in public spaces on campus today. It seems that as concerns nationally shifted to healthier eating and more conscious dietary decision making, that process made its way to college campuses as well. But, this picture also poses the question of vending machine maintenace: who emptied each machine? how frequently were they emptied? Studying vending machines on the UNC campus, their emergence and their disappearance, also sheds light on the food employment side of Chapel Hill. While the snacks and drinks provided in these machines weren’t considered the healthiest, did working for a vending machine company provide Chapel Hill families income to feed themselves healthier, more quality food?