Picture this: you arrive at Schwemm’s with a grumbling stomach and a craving for salt. Sadly, upon looking at your watch, you realize that it is 2:01 a.m. Though delicious fries and a shake are no longer in the cards, have no fear! To assist students in their late night snacking endeavors, I compiled Amherst’s top 10 vending machine locations and ranked them. The locations were rated on a scale of one to ten in terms of drink selection, snack selection and overall caliber. Rosa Gomes, the manager of Vending and Cash Operations runs operations vending machine operations. She has hired Steve’s Snacks to provide and stock the vending machines.
- The Science Center (The Premier Choice) Overall Rating : 8/10 Snack Selection : 7/10 Drink Selection : 9/10
Noteworthy snacks and drinks: Godiva chocolate, Reese’s, energy shots, seltzers, ginger ale The Science Center is notorious for its A grade vending machines. It is safe to say that they live up to the hype. In addition to the typical snacks (Pop-Tarts, chips, and granola bars), students can also find specialty items such as five-hour energy drinks, iced honey buns and Reese’s peanut butter cups. In terms of beverages, the science center vending machine is literally stacked. Not only does the machine have the essentials, it also has seltzers, chocolate milk and coffee beverages — fitting for a 24-hour study space. There are also options for the health nuts on campus, including diet sodas and lower calorie snacks. Moreover, these vending machines are highly accessible, located in the lowest level of the science center. They have a range of reasonable prices ($1 to $3) and take cash, AC dollars and credit.
- Wolff Fitness Center (Best Drinks) Overall rating: 7.5/10 Snack selection: 7/10 Drink selection: 9/10
Noteworthy snacks: Godiva chocolate, Gushers, peanut butter M&M’s, Vitamin Water, cranberry seltzer, Fanta The vending machines at Wolff Fitness Center come in a close second to the Science Center’s offerings. Though the machines have plentiful options, their location and inaccessibility knocked them down a few points.
The key perk of the fitness center’s vending machines are their diversity in drink selection. There are two beverage machines that have every soda type imaginable, numerous seltzer flavors, Powerades and coffee drinks. The snack machines have all the vending machine essentials (Cheetos, Fritos, Pop-Tarts) but also have more nutritious items such as Clif Bars and PopCorners.
Though the machines’ pricing is fairly reasonable (everything is $1-3), the snack machine only takes cash. This drawback, in combination with the non-central location of the fitness center basement, makes these vending machines less than ideal. It’s also worth noting that most of the snacks are characteristically unhealthy (which is a bit shameful for a building dedicated to fitness and heath).
- Valentine Hall (Best Location) Overall Rating : 7/10 Snack Selection : 6/10 Drink Selection : 8/10
Noteworthy snacks and drinks: caramel M&M’s, Nature Valley oatmeal bars, sea salt and vinegar potato chips Val ranks a strong third place on this list. Though its drink and snack diversity is not as impressive as the machines at the science and fitness centers, its solid stocking of basic snacks and strong location kept it in the top three. To find these vending machines, turn left into the small coat room before the check-in counter. You will see them right away — they glow like jewels in a dark cave. These snack machines have plentiful food options and drinks ranging from $1 to $3.
- Keefe Campus Center (For When You Need Something Other Than Food) Overall Rating : 6.5/10 Snack Selection : 6/10 Drink Selection : 5/10
Noteworthy items: coconut water and toiletries Keefe’s vending machines are not the most popular, but are certainly useful when in a pinch — like that 2:01 a.m. Schwemm’s arrival. The drink and snack options are nothing to write home about, but they will do the trick. What really boosted Keefe’s score was its third machine — the only vending machine on campus with non-food or beverage items. It was installed by the college with help from the Student Health Educators (SHEs). The SHEs made sure to stock this machine with contraceptives, feminine hygiene products and a range of toiletries, subsidizing the products to make them accessible to students.
- Frost Library (Great for Late Night Study Breaks) Overall Rating : 6/10 Snack Selection : 8/10 Drink Selection : 4/10
Noteworthy snacks and drinks: fruit snacks, 5-hour Energy, fruit and nut trail mix, Godiva chocolate The vending machines at Frost are hidden in the corner of A-Level. In terms of snacks, these machines meet all late night snacking needs. Unfortunately, the drink machine falls short and is disappointingly often half full. Additionally, it is located behind the library work desk which limits its accessibility. Despite these disadvantages, Frost machines are still the go-to for study snacks.
- Greenway B (The Unexpected Gem) Overall Rating : 6.5/10 Snack Selection : 9/10 Drink Selection : 4/10
Noteworthy snacks and drinks: Bare Apple Chips, croissants, Reese’s pieces, Hershey’s, Milk Duds, popcorn The drink options at Greenway B are limited, but its bombshell snacks make up for it. There are Bare Apple Chips, croissants (yes you read that right!), Reese’s Pieces and Milk Duds. The prices are also unbeatable. For example, you can get an extra large Kit Kat for only $1.50, which cheaper than other locations on campus. However, these machines are difficult to find and are isolated from central campus. Plus, they are the only vending machines for all the Greenway residences.
- Stearns and James (The Best First-Year Dorm Machines) Overall Rating : 6/10 Snack Selection : 8/10 Drink Selection : 4/10
Noteworthy snacks and drinks: Barbeque Cape Cod Chips, almonds, almond Snickers, Fanta, Fresca These dorms blow away their counterparts on the first-year quad in vending machine quality. Though they fall short in comparison to Greenway B’s, they have good options and are conveniently located in the basements of both dorms near the laundry rooms.
- Beneski Museum of Natural History (If You Are Looking to Try Something New) Overall Rating : 6/10 Snack Selection : 8/10 Drink Selection : 4/10
Noteworthy snacks and drinks: Hot Fries, potato skins and Jalapeno Kettle Cooked Chips Artifacts aren’t the only rare objects in Beneski! Turns out there are quite a selection of unusual snack options located in the basement. The snack machines boast Hot Fries, potato skins and Jalapeno Kettle Cooked Chips. The drink selections, on the other hand, are mediocre at best.
- Morrow Dormitory(For All Your Candy Needs) Overall Rating : 6.5/10 Snack Selection : 7/10 Drink Selection : 6/10
Noteworthy snacks and drinks: Mini M&M’s, Twix, Minute Maid lemonade The vending machine at Morrow Dormitory is the ultimate location for candy. Not only does it have mini M&M’s, but it also has Gushers, Three Musketeers, Twix, Milky Way and Snickers. These treats, in addition to Minute Maid lemonade, means that this machine easily makes the top ten.
- Charles Pratt (The Granola Bar Spot) Overall Rating : 5/10 Snack Selection : 5/10 Drink Selection : 5/10
Noteworthy snacks and drinks: Kind Whole Fruit Bar, Peanut Butter Kind Bars, Fiber One, Cliff Bars, Nature Valley Bars, Mike and Ikes Charles Pratt just makes the cut. Its snacks and drinks have worthwhile options but are not particularly special in any way. However, this vending machine has ample granola bar options — and therefore deserved a spot in the top ten list.
BONUS —WORST VENDING ON CAMPUS: Seeley Mudd The worst vending machine on campus is definitely the one in Seeley Mudd. It is located in the building’s old musty basement, and has about 10 drinks. This is by far the worst vending machine on campus.