Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Second Harvest Food Bank: Please give; When you are hungry nothing else matters

Second Harvest Food Bank Mobile Pantry. Photo courtesy of Michelle Wall/Second Harvest Food Bank

Second Harvest Food Bank Mobile Pantry. Photo courtesy of Michelle Wall/Second Harvest Food Bank

This holiday season, give a gift that matters. Give the gift of food.

This holiday season is critical. As we strive to feed more and more people in need in our community, we are asking everyone to do what they can and give a gift that matters – the gift of food.

Now is the time to pull together. It is through the generosity and sacrifice of people in our community that we will be able to weather this storm and continue to meet the growing need of our community.

No gift is too small. For every dollar donated, we can provide two nutritious meals to people in need in our community.

For about the price of a latte, you can provide 10 meals to people in need in our community.

When the Food Bank was founded in 1974, we were an agency that was 100% government funded. Today, we receive only 8% of our funding from the government; the rest comes from the community.

The Need
Our goals for this year’s Holiday Food and Fund Drive are to collect $10 million and 1.9 million pounds of food. We are hopeful that the community will rally its resources this holiday season and help us reach our goals.

Even as the economy begins to recover, the requests for help continue to grow since joblessness is still on the rise. Last year our multi-lingual Food Connection hotline received more than 40,000 calls, a 44% increase over the previous year.

Currently, more than two thirds of callers to our Food Connection hotline are first time callers who have never before needed food assistance.
• These people are recently-unemployed or had their hours cut and are finding themselves in a position of being unable to buy enough nutritious food for themselves and their families.
• Most have solid work histories; some of them used to donate to the Food Bank through their company’s food drives.

Every month more than 207,000 people in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties rely on the Food Bank to help them feed themselves and their families.

The winter season becomes an even more precarious time for many of our clients who rely on seasonal work such as construction and landscaping. Plus higher utility bills means less money for food.

In addition to the increase in people coming to us for help, the Food Bank is also struggling with a decrease in canned food and shelf stable donations. The majority of the food we distribute is donated food and as large manufacturers and retailers tighten their belts, the Food Bank has to turn to the community and other sources to make up those lost donations. We are also in need of high-quality, high-protein items such as tuna, soups and chili, as well as canned fruit and canned vegetables.

For the third year in a row, Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator, has given us a 4-star rating (the highest available) for our sound fiscal management. Only 11% of US charities receive at least three consecutive 4-star ratings.

We are the primary source of food for 316 partner nonprofit agencies serving the hungry in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties through 834 distribution sites.

• Pantries receive 83% of their food from us

• Children’s programs receive 82% of their food from us

• Soup kitchens receive 57% of their food from us
• We are seeing more and more families at soup kitchens as they find themselves in transitional housing situations

Because of the high cost of living in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, more people than ever are choosing between paying for housing, utilities, fuel, medical expenses and buying enough nutritious food for themselves and their families
• 67% of the people we serve are families with children

• 12% of the people we serve are seniors
• 6% of senior households served have children living with them

• Our Brown Bag program provides food to low-income seniors. The average age of our Brown Bag recipient is 75 and average monthly household income is $1,121.

• Our Family Harvest program provides food to low-income families with dependent children. The average monthly household income for a Family Harvest client is $1,450.

Ninety-five percent of families in our Family Harvest program report that their children now eat healthier because of the food they receive from us.

We are the single largest non-profit provider of food to low-income households in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties,

Our service area stretches from South San Francisco to Gilroy and from the ocean to the bay.

The consequences of hunger are far reaching
• Mothers in food insecure households are significantly more likely to report symptoms of depression. This depression can negatively impact a young child’s social-emotional development.

• Children living in very low food security households are more likely to be overweight than children living in food secure households. This is because low-income families often rely on calories dense, high fat processed and fast food that can be purchased cheaply and easily.

• Children in food insecure households are more likely to be hospitalized.

• Food insecurity is associated with greater behavioral problems – such as hyperactivity and aggression – in both adults and children.

• Elementary school children from food insecure families are more likely to have to repeat a grade.

Information courtesy of Michelle Wall, Community Relations & Events Coordinator of Second Harvest Food Bank

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Dogs host historic game; finish fourth in nation

Bulldog defensive lineman Matangi Tonga takes down Mounties running back Lancer Iosefa in one of his five tackles during the game, earning him Most Valuable Defensive Player honors. Photo courtesy of David McLain.


Bradley Davis and Sharon Ho
Issue date : 12/14/09

Despite giving up just one touchdown, the Bulldogs fell one point short of a state championship Dec. 12, losing at home to Mt. San Antonio College Mounties 7-6, to finish fourth on the national level 10-2.

Undaunted by heavy downpours lasting for more than three quarters of game time, fans came out in full force to support their teams; the crowd at College Heights Stadium was 3,723 strong .

Late in the third quarter, it seemed that CSM was well on its way to claiming their first state title, with a 6-0 lead. The Bulldogs had scored in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by No. 9 quarterback Matt Pelesasa on a third-and-goal. A botched snap kept CSM from tacking on the extra point.

With two inches of rain and wind gusts of up to 30 mph, both teams suffered from very sloppy play, resulting in eight turnovers, the most surprising of them being the five that CSM gave up, after having the second highest turnover ratio in the state all year.

Perhaps even more alarming were special teams, or the lack thereof for each team. For the Bulldogs, the botched extra point was the least of their worries; they quickly added a fumbled punt return by slot Will Frazier, a missed field goal, and a fumble by the punter.

Fortunately for CSM, Mt. SAC’s red zone offensive failures kept the Bulldogs in control for almost three quarters. Despite receiving the ball in CSM territory twice in the first half, the Mounties were unable to turn the opportunities into points.

After completely shutting down Mt. SAC’s offense the entire game, a missed assignment allowed Mounties quarterback Matt Faulkner to hit a wide open Michael Harrell for a 64-yard touchdown pass seven seconds before the end of the third quarter.

“Just a coverage bust; it looked like we didn’t even have a corner out there. I don’t know what happened,” said No. 17 CSM defensive lineman Matongi Tonga, who won Most Valuable Defensive Player honors. “Even though the loss was a big disappointment to us, I am proud of the way we played despite the rain. We gave everything we had; we left everything we had on the field.” Tonga and fellow Bulldog defense lineman Eddie Elder earned 1st Team All-American Honors. Elder was named the State Defensive Player of the Year and will be playing for the Arizona Wildcats next fall.

After multiple drives leading to nothing but punts and an interception, CSM was getting desperate. In search of a big play, the Bulldogs dug deep into the play book and pulled out a half back pass. The CSM running back was hit while he threw and the ball fell right into the hands of a Mounties defender.

CSM would get another chance to take the ball down the field after once again forcing a Mt. SAC punt. The Bulldogs got the ball down into scoring position before being stopped on third down and two. After initially sending kicker Juan Garcia out to attempt a 42-yard field goal, Head Coach Bret Pollack called a time out and sent his offense back onto the field.

The call was a play action roll out, but the Mounties were all over it. Pelesasa was stopped on his feet and he threw his last pass of his CSM career, landing it in the hands of a San Antonio defender, and that was it.

“They made one big play, we had one good drive, that’s it,” said Pollack. “A missed extra point, missed field goal, that’s the game.” The State Championship was the second loss of the season by one point. CSM previously suffered its first loss of the season on Oct. 24 to Foothill College 27-28.

“It was heartbreaking for the team,” said Maggie Skaff, international student services coordinator, who has been watching the Bulldogs play for 21 years. “One of my international students, No. 51 defense lineman Sosefo Maka, played in the game too,” Skaff said. “I am really happy to see an international student represented in the team.”

“The Bulldogs still played a great game, even with the torrential rain and wind,” Skaff said. “It was unfortunate that they lost by a point but we are still proud of them.”

Game Statistics

CSM Alumnus honored

John Earl Madden in Bulldog uniform in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of Voices of CSM/KCSM

CSM alumnus, John Madden shakes hands with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after being inducted into the California Hall of Fame on Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of Rich Pedroncelli/AP


Sharon Ho
Issue Date: 12/14/09

Pro Football Hall of Famer John Earl Madden, a CSM alumnus, was one of 13 Californians inducted into the California Hall of Fame on Dec. 1.

Madden, 73, was the offensive lineman for the Bulldogs in 1954 and 1955 before obtaining a scholarship to California Polytechnic State University where he graduated with BS and MS degrees in education in 1959 and 1961.

“I am very happy for coach Madden and proud that we could call him a CSM alumnus,” said CSM President Michael Claire.

When told by the anchor on the Dec. 10 KCBS Daily Madden Show that his alma mater CSM was playing in the State Championship, Madden said that CSM was also “Bill Walsh’s alma mater; Dick Vermeil’s alma mater” and he also wished the Bulldogs good luck.

IMG Worldwide, the company representing Madden, did not respond to queries from The San Matean. His agent, Sandy Montag, and Madden himself could not be reached for comment.

Madden was drafted by National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1958, but a knee injury during a training session ended his NFL career in 1959.

At the age of 33, Madden became the youngest head coach in the American Football League coaching the Oakland Raiders. Madden’s .759 regular season winning percentage is the highest in NFL football history.

After retiring from coaching in 1979, Madden became a television football commentator and analyst known for colorfully punctuating his announcements with known words like “Boom!” and “Bang” and wordsmithing words like “Doink!” and “Whap!.”

“I am proud of him; we take great pride for people who have gone through our program and have encountered success in the field; we are happy for Madden and his family,” said former Bulldogs head coach Larry Owens.

Some of Madden’s Hall of Fame artifacts include the 1997 Super Bowl Trophy, all 20 Madden NFL video game covers from 1989 to 2009, the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality/Analyst, one of 16 he won in his football commentator career, and a mini version of the Madden Cruiser.

Madden has a fear of flying and travels around the nation in a coach bus he dubs the “Madden Cruiser.”

Madden retired from NBC Apr. 16 this year, citing the need to spend more time with his family and that his five grandchildren: Sam, 9, Jack, 8, Jesse, 7, Aidan, 6, and McKenna, 5, were old enough to notice whenever he was away on football commentating duties.

Madden lives with his wife Virginia, 75, in Pleasanton, CA. They will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on Boxing Day Dec. 26.

The food paradox: obesity and hunger in America

Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms. Polyface Farms is featured in Michael Pollan's 2006 book The Omnivore's Dilemma and the 2008 documentary Food, Inc. Photo courtesy of Wendy Gray/Polyface Farms

Sharon Ho
Issue Date: 12/14/09

The CSM library featured “
food issues” books in the display area on the second floor for National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week on Nov. 17 to Nov. 21. The display will be up until the last day of the fall semester on Dec. 19, after which the library will be closed for the winter break.

CSM library “food issues” display

“National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week happens around the time of Thanksgiving, so there are themes of consumerism and hunger in the books display,” wrote Michele Alaniz, Web Services and Instruction librarian in an e-mail to The San Matean. “ While Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, it is also necessary to be aware that there are also people starving and living on the streets. A number of the books also look at obesity and the ways that food is processed and marketed in the United States. Again, this can be a tie-in to consumerism or wealth and its counter, poverty.”

Second Harvest Food Bank

“I saw the (Second Harvest) food bank bins around campus and it got me thinking about food issues,” said Lia Thomas, adjunct librarian who set up the display. “More people are changing the way they think about food,” Thomas said, who has read The New York Times selling The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, one of the books featured in the display. “They are no longer looking at the cheapest and fastest food, but more about where food come from and how it is produced, the health and ethical issues concerning food.”

The Food for Thought Learning Community, who was responsible for bringing Second Harvest Food Bank bins to CSM, involves seven professors: English teachers Lucia Olson, Allison Miller, Joyce Heyman ; ethnic studies teacher Lewis Kawahara; geography teacher Angela Skinner; political science teacher Erin Scholnick and sociology teacher Minu Mathur. Their classes meet together to work on common assignments involving food. Heyman and Olson are co-coordinators of the learning community.

All of the teachers could not be reached for comment owing to it being Finals Week.
The learning community hosted a presentation by Joe Pert and Michelle Wall of the Second Harvest Food Bank on the topic of hunger in the community on Oct. 14. Pert requested food donations from students and staff as part of a campus wide food drive which ended Dec. 11.

“We collected 786 pounds (of food) from CSM!” wrote Wall in an e-mail to The San Matean.

“CSM students and staff who want to donate food after the last collection date of Dec. 11 can do so online through shfb.org or by calling 866-234-3663,” said Lynn Crocker, director of marketing and communications at Second Food Harvest Bank in a phone interview. “All donations are appreciated as more people are coming in needing food because of the recession.”

“Donating once the drive is over is easiest done online,” Wall wrote. “Financial contributions are essential to our function, and every dollar provides two nutritious meals. Supporters can donate online to the College of San Mateo Food Drive at www.virtualharvest.net – select ‘Schools’ and ‘College of San Mateo.’ Our Virtual Store gives donors an idea of our huge purchasing power and is available year-round, 24 hours a day.”

“We accept donations, food and financial, year-round at our facility at 1051 Bing Street in San Carlos,” Wall continued. “For more information on our hours, volunteer opportunities and other ways to get involved, you can visit www.shfb.org .”

Twice-weekly farmers’ market hosted at CSM

Students looking for local and fresh produce can visit the twice-weekly farmers’ market held every Wednesday and Saturday at CSM.

“It is my favourite day of the week (to come to the farmers’ market),” said Svetlana Sicular of Foster City. “It is quiet today (Wednesday) and it is a great location.”
Jeanette Zanchettini of San Mateo tries to visit the farmers’ market host at CSM at least once a week.

Zanchettini’s father used to own a three-to-five-acre farm in South San Francisco. She remembers working all day in the fields, loading green beans, carrots and lettuce into wet sacks onto a truck each Friday to be taken to cities like Stockton and Riverton and sold at the farmers’ market every Saturday.

Zanchettini recalled watching “ Food Inc. ”, a documentary featuring Pollan on screen and behind the scenes as a consultant, and mentioned a scene in the documentary where a family of four could not afford a head of cabbage and instead bought eight burgers from a fast food restaurant for a meal.

“It is hard to keep your children healthy eating that kind of food,” Zanchettini said.

“Fast food is not cheap,” wrote Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms, in an e-mail to The San Matean. Salatin and Polyface Farms were featured in the Omnivore’s dilemma and in Food, Inc.

“If you purchase whole, unprocessed foods and prepare them in your own kitchen, you can eat far better for less,” Salatin said. “The single most important food security and integrity act that Americans can do is to rediscover domestic culinary arts. Time? Throw away the TV. And video games.”

“If we took all the money spent on junk and fluff, from Twinkies to soda to microwavable boxes of pseudo-food, plenty of money already exists in the system to purchase local, nutrient dense, beyond organic food,” continued Salatin. “How about replacing the trash cans full of carry-out fast food with pots of tomato plants? Eat in season. Process and store in-home. Be pro-active.”

“Buying in season gives you something to look forward to: your first strawberry in the spring, your first peach,” said Sotiria Trembois, one of farmers who has a booth at the farmers’ market hosted in CSM.

For example, the tomatoes sold at the supermarket are not freshly picked; they were picked still green, transported in huge trucks from other countries, and gassed to make them red, Trembois said.

“Vegetables like tomatoes and green beans are winding down right now, and you will be seeing more root vegetables like carrots and potatoes,” she replied, when asked what was in season right now.

Trombois drives 90 minutes from her family’s farm Specialty Produce in San Juan Bautista to CSM twice a week and reaches CSM by 8 a.m., giving her about an hour to set up her booth for the farmers’ market which starts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“When you buy from your local farmers’ market, you are keeping the money in your economy and giving the money to the small farmers,” said Polyface Farms apprentice Matthew Robertson in a phone interview with The San Matean. Robertson is two months into his one-year apprenticeship at Polyface Farms. “This will help to support local farmers and create hundreds of thousands of small farms, making it for the dreams and aspirations for small farms and their farmers.”

“The best thing to do is visit their farms and tour their land,” said Robertson. “Basically, when you buy local and organic produce from small farms, you get safer food which are chemical-free, more nutrients-dense and which do not deplete the environment ecologically during the growing process. By supporting your local farmers instead of supporting one large corporation, you are also helping to support your local economy and supporting your environment.”

“When you don’t support the local economy by buying your food from supermarkets instead of farmers’ market, you end up destroying farmers in your area,” Zanchettini said. “The food you get from supermarkets is not fresh; it’s been refrigerated for weeks, even months, unlike produce from farmers’ markets that’s freshly picked and in season.”

Safeway Inc. could not be reached for comment as Safeway’s Public Affairs spokesperson was away from the office for two days when The San Matean called.

Additional reporting contributed by Danielle Jennings and Dylan Slusser of The San Matean.

Online comparison sites can save money


Tina Zeidan and Sharon Ho
Issue Date: 12/14/09

Students looking to save time bargain-hunting for the cheapest textbooks can now make use of online textbook price comparison engines.

CampusBooks.com and GetTextbooks.com compare the prices of used, rental, electronic and international editions of textbooks.

Prices listed include any applicable shipping charges.

“CampusBooks.com was founded by our President, Alex Neal, who was tired of the high price of books and knew the Internet offered a way to save hundreds on textbooks,”Jeff Cohen, CEO of Campusbooks.com wrote in an e-mail to The San Matean. “The problem was that it took a long time to visit all the different sites. CampusBooks.com was created to solve this problem.”

“CSM students can expect to save up to 90 percent on the textbooks they purchase,” wrote Jeremy Jung, founder of GetTextbooks.com, in an e-mail to The San Matean.

As a college student, Jung had become increasingly frustrated with bookstore textbook prices, and wanted to create a tool that allowed students to find the best prices without having to deal with advertisements.

The amount of savings depends on factors such as demand and popularity of the textbook, and how early students purchase the textbook, wrote Jung.

GetTextbooks.com has a price alert feature which will notify students when the price of a textbook drops, wrote Jung. Students can save more money if they know early-on which textbooks they need.

“Prices tend to increase during the first few weeks of classes as students often buy at the last minute,” Jung wrote.

Students should exercise caution when they buy textbooks online.

“We recommend that students read the seller comments and understand the shipping policy of any online merchant they purchase from,” wrote Cohen. “It is also important to review the condition of the book.”

“We only include bookstores which have a reputation of being reliable,” Jung wrote. “If we receive any complaints about a bookstore we investigate them very thoroughly and will remove any stores from our result which do not meet the highest quality standards.”

Students can also use smartphone applications to compare textbook prices.
“Our iPhone application, iBookstore, is a great way to get prices on the go,” wrote Cohen. “CSM students can also access our iPhone application to get prices directly from their phone while shopping in the on-campus bookstore.”

GetTextbooks.com plans to relaunch its website within the following months to include smartphone bookstore applications which will make it easier for students to tap into low textbook prices wherever they are, wrote Jung.

CampusBooks.com, based in San Diego, began operations in 1998. GetTextbooks, based in Mountain View, Calif., began operations in 2003.

TextbookRentals.com and GreenTextbooks.com did not respond to queries from The San Matean.

'Education is key'


Sharon Ho
Issue Date: 12/14/09

President Obama told the nation Nov. 23 “the U.S. economy is in good shape for the long term thanks to ‘core strengths’ such as its universities, its innovation and a dynamic workforce.”

But that may soon no longer be the case for California.The Calif. Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960, which covers the UCs, CSUs and California Community Colleges, has been undone by Californians themselves, through the passage of the 1978’s Proposition 13. Before Prop. 13, the college district levied a tax to get funds; after Prop. 13 passed, the state allocated funds to the district. Continued reductions in state support have resulted in Calif. now ranking 49th in per-student funding for higher education, according to a 2006 report by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy.

The Californian government prefers imprisoning Californians to educating them. “When we’re spending more money to lock people up than we’re spending to open the doors to let people in, it’s a shame,” said Assemblyman and CSM alumnus Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, at the Candlelight Vigil held Nov. 23.

Keeping a prisoner in jail costs $49,000 per year, more than 10 times the $4,600 the state contributes to a CSU student’s education per year.

The Master Plan has not failed California; the Californian government has failed the Master Plan. Californian Governor Schwarzenegger himself was once a student at Santa Monica College in California. He is a good example of how the previous generation, which has benefited from The Master Plan, is now pulling up the ladder, leaving this generation stranded in a sea of economic turmoil. Only when Calif. repeals Prop. 13 and prioritizes students over prisoners will Californian education again be able to provide the “core strengths” of the Californian and American economy.

All 30,000 of us who are enrolled in the district can unite to help save our education right here at home. As one voice, we are more than 30,000 students strong, for when we are denied an education, our families and friends suffer alongside us, and, on a broader picture, the state’s economy and the national economy do as well. The district is going to poll the community on a few local tax options. Spread the message: tell your family and friends that California’s innovative and dynamic workforce -- which propels the state’s economy -- is threatened, and education is the key. The state’s economy receives a $3 net return for every $1 it invests in a student’s higher education, according to a study released Apr. 2008 by the CCCs chancellor’s office. A $20 annual parcel tax alone would mean $4 million to shore up our college district’s budget and save the classes you need to graduate or transfer from the chopping block.

The CCCs serves 2.7 million students, CSUs serve 417,112 students and UCs serve 191,000 students. Together we make up more than 3.3 million student voters and comprise nearly nine percent of California’s total population of 36.8 million people. Rather than bickering over the declining meager funds the state deigns to allocate us, we should work together, CCCs, CSUs and UCs, to demand the education that we deserve; the education that suits in Sacramento benefited from when they themselves were students and are now denying us. When -- not if -- that happens: watch out, Sacramento.

Afghanistan: A lost cause


Sharon Ho
Issue date: 12/14/09

President Barack Obama announced a surge of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan on Dec. 1, disappointing Obama supporters who are saying they did not elect him for this. These voters apparently did not pay attention to his campaign promise that he would pull troops out of Iraq and focus on the war in Afghanistan if elected as president.

I believe that the war in Afghanistan is both unwinnable and detrimental to America’s national security.

“The two wars that we are fighting (in Afghanistan and Iraq) are counterproductive and not useful to us as a country,” said political science professor Leighton Armitage.

The Afghan people have always resented foreign presence in their country; the Soviet Union lost the nine-year Soviet–Afghan War fought during the Cold War. Increasing troops in Afghanistan will increase support for the Taliban, as Afghans who resent American military forces in their country will join the Taliban in fighting to drive American troops out.

The war in Afghanistan cannot be fought and won like the Iraq War; Afghanistan does not have a centralized government like Iraq. Rather, the Afghan people consist of many different tribes in villages scattered across the country.

Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s current president, is rightly described as the “Mayor of Kabul”, as he does not have any real control of the country beyond the capital city of Kabul. A Gallup poll conducted in June this year revealed that eight in 10 Afghans believe their country is riddled with widespread corruption and more than half of respondents said they don’t think Karzai is doing enough to address this problem. It is the Taliban and the tribal leaders who hold sway outside Kabul.

It is a mistake to increase troops in Afghanistan in the hopes of driving the Taliban back and giving control of these areas to Afghan national troops. The Afghan people trust their tribal leaders and look to their own local militia, not national Afghan troops, to defend their villages against the Taliban.

Since Obama has made the decision to send more troops, these additional troops should focus on supporting tribal leaders and the local militia, and not the Afghan national troops. Tribal leaders are respected by and hold great influence over the Afghan people. Local militia are comprised of the people living in the villages. The local militia has a real stake in protecting their villages against Taliban forces and are more committed to fighting the Taliban, unlike Afghan national troops.

Whether the American people support or oppose the war in Afghanistan or the decision to send additional troops there, these brave soldiers who have volunteered to fight for America rightly deserve and should still receive the support of the American people.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Introduction to American Culture 101: Watching My first American Football game - A Baptism by Rain

Photo courtesy of Linda Herman.

Photo courtesy of Linda Herman.

Photo courtesy of Linda Herman.

Photo courtesy of Linda Herman.

Photo courtesy of Linda Herman.

Photo courtesy of Linda Herman.

The Bulldogs fight to recover one of six Mt. San Antonio College fumbles, in their 7-6 loss on Saturday Dec. 12. In a game that featured eight turnovers, CSM accounted for five, the last one being their last offensive play on the year ending on an Pelesasa's second interception of the game. Photo courtesy of Linda Herman . Caption by Bradley Davis/The San Matean.

CSM's defensive linemen Matongi Tonga takes down Mt. San Antonio running back Lancer Iosefa, for one of his five tackles, earning Most Valuable Defensive Player honors. Photo courtesy of Linda Herman. Caption by Bradley Davis/The San Matean.

I landed in San Francisco Airport on June. 21, 2009, my first time on U.S. soil, a child of two countries where people are more interested in betting on sports than in watching the sport itself.

As a result of America's hegemony over the world, more popularly known as Cocacolonization, I did not suffer any particular culture shock, having always lived in countries where I could find a McDonalds restaurant at almost every corner should I hunger for "all-American food."

But living in a sports-loving country like Australia has taught me one thing; I wouldn't really get to know about American culture fully until I have, in one way or another, taken a deeper look at the American sports obsession that is football. Here I have to thank my Australian friend Peter Cope who introduced me to the world of Australian football. When Pete is not busy keeping the Footy score for the Curtin Office pool, he competes with the weeds in a game of shoveling and raking on the Curtin's Vegie Garden which he started a few years ago. Like I said, Australians are nutty for competitive gardening and sports.

My opportunity to get to know The American Game came when the CSM (College of San Mateo) Bulldogs won the NorCal Championship and were playing the Junior College State Championship on Dec. 12. We knew we had to cover it for the last fall semester issue of The San Matean, come rain or shine. As the new managing editor, I felt it was my job to tag along with my sports editor to cover the game.

As a result of some miscommunication the day before, I was not allowed to cover the story in the press box, nor did I manage to find my sports editor. I was understandably upset. As I wandered despondently among the stands, who should I find but my International Students Services Coordinator, Ms Maggie Skaff, who came a hour early to nab the best seats in the stadium. Dear sweet Maggie offered me a seat beside her.

In retrospect that was the best spot that a reporter could ever possibly have. On my left was Maggie, who has been watching the Bulldogs play for 21 years since she came to work at CSM in 1988. In her spare time Maggie acts as a mother hen to us international students. Maggie was dressed in a green raincoat and spotting a green umbrella. For Irish luck, I thought, reminded of Ireland winning the Quidditch World Cup in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, with their green shamrocks and green-decked Leprechaun mascots.

On my right, was the father of the lineback coach for Mt.SAC (Mt. San Antonio College), the team that CSM was playing against. He had been playing football since he was fourteen and used to be a football coach. He drove six hours from his house to watch the game. I told him that he must be very proud of his son. He told me, only half-joking: "I love football. I don't love my son."

Sitting right in front of me was the Bulldogs quarterback Matt Pelesasa's mother Joann Pelesasa and the rest of his family who came to watch him play. The jolly dame, whose good cheer was not dampened one whit by the drenching rain, left us constantly convulsed in laughter throughout the game with quips like "We will all need to spend at least a half hour in the hot tub after this," referring to the torrential downpour. And boy was it pouring. The weather forecast predicted two inches of rain and wind gusts of up to 30mph. In sunny California it could pretty much be considered monsoon-like weather.

Before the kickoff at 12.15 p.m., everyone suddenly stood up and I did too. Four men in military regalia marched smartly onto the center of the field, one of them holding the American flag. One of the Bulldogs' sister sang the Star-Spangled Banner, the American national anthem, as the rest of the stadium stood in respectful silence or sang along in a wisp of a whisper that accompanied the steady pitter-patter of the rain on a sea-drum of umbrellas. Halfway through the song, the songstress' microphone failed, probably as a result of the pouring rain. There was an awkward few seconds of silence as her lone voice competed against the mighty rain. As if on cue and orchestrated by an invisible conductor, thousands of voices joined together as one to complete the song with her. It was a pretty heartwarming moment.

Throughout the first half of the game, I was in capable hands as Maggie and Quatran (not sure if I spelled his name right) took turns explaining the game to me. And boy had I a lot to learn. I did not even know what a touchdown was. My idea of a touchdown was someone holding the football throwing himself down onto the ground after passing some invisible boundary and scoring. Basically, to me, a touchdown was just something that the players generally like to do in the game. That was how ignorant I was. The wet bedraggled crowd erupted into loud cheers when Bulldogs quarterback Matt Pelesasa scored the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter; none cheered more loudly than his family, if my ringing ears were any indication. It was the first touchdown I ever saw in my 20 years.

During the game Maggie and I was also on the lookout for one of her international students, No. 51 defense lineman Sosefo Maka, who is from Tonga.

At halftime Maggie-okasan (Japanese for mother) treated me to a Polish dog. I ate the dog while watching the Bulldogs cheerleaders perform. "These girls are tougher than the boys," Quatran told me. Then the CSM Dance club came out to perform some of the same dances they did for the Fall Dance concert that I had watched only a week ago.

As I was sitting down to wait for the second half to start, a young boy in Mt. SAC colors, maroon and white, came wandering around where we were sitting. He was looking for his mother, who he said was supposed to be waiting for him there. He walked through our row and not finding his mother, began crying. I was at a loss for what to do. We tried to console him but then he tried to leave the stands. I couldn't very well leave him alone and followed him.

I asked him where his mother or father was. He, tears streaming down his face, told me that his father was one of the coaches on the field. I couldn't very well go running to the field to look for his father as by then the second half had begun.

Was he sure he was looking at the right place, I asked. He said she was supposed to be in the first row of the stands, so we went to the stands to the right of us then to the stands to the left of us. I asked him what was the color of the clothes that his mother was wearing. He told me gray, which didn't help much. We were essentially trying to find his mother among a crowd of 3,723 people.

I was getting increasingly desperate. I would have considered barging into the Press Box to ask someone if they could announce a missing child over the PA system to say that there was a boy whose father was in the field and who could not find his mother. But the game had already started. Suddenly the boy started running over to the very left side of the stands. Finally he pointed to a tent area in the stands and told me that he found his mother. I was relieved, and made my way back to the stands, coughing and sputtering (from all the running around) to find that I had missed the first two minutes of the third quarter.

As the third quarter drew to a close, I was beginning to think that the Bulldogs might win the game after all with a score of 6-0, when Mt. SAC scored a touchdown seven seconds to the end of the third quarter. Quatran was jubilant. I was distraught.

The Bulldogs valiantly attempted to steal back their lead in the last quarter of the game, but the Mt. SAC defense wasn't going to let that happened. We lost. Yes. We. At the start of the game they were the Bulldogs. By the end they became we. That was how emotionally involved I had become. That was my baptism by rain.

I was soaked to the bone, dressed only in a wet T-shirt and even wetter pants that could more appropriately be called a raincatcher just then. But, it was my heart that froze. How much harder was it, I wonder, for the Bulldogs themselves to have victory snatched from their very jaws? By just one point, one measly point?

I congratulated Quatran on his son's team winning the game. Then I went back to the Mt. SAC's side of the stadium to check up on the little boy. I found him sitting on his mother's lap, eating Cheetos. I smiled and waved at him. He smiled and waved back. My heart thawed a little.

During the award ceremony, they announced that CSM No. 17 defense lineman Matangi Tonga won Most Valuable Defense Player honors. My heart thawed a little more.

During the fall semester at The San Matean, I had written over 20 published articles which ranged from cosmetology stories to budget stories. Trust me, the CSM Bulldogs State Championship game article, with which I shared a byline with my sports editor, was the hardest to write; writing that article ended my first semester at CSM on a bittersweet note.

As a journalist I am supposed to emotionally detach myself from the stories I write. I have managed to do so, up until this moment. Who am I kidding anyway? A match between my journalistic need to be detached and a game where OUR team is PLAYING THEIR HEARTS OUT? No amount of Irish luck could ever hope to win me that battle.

Big game, check. Polish dog at half time, check. Helped child lost in large crowd find his mother, check. Proud of our team, check. Going to the next Bulldogs State Championship game? To borrow a quote from Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine in the 1942 American film Casablanca: Bulldogs, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

This article is rightfully dedicated to the CSM Bulldogs Football Team who fully embodies the great tenacity of our CSM mascot the Bulldog. Congratulations to the whole team for playing such a terrific season; the team to win CSM's first ever NorCal Title Championship since the CSM football program began in 1922.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Music jazzes up prof's algebra textbooks


Sharon Ho
Issue date: 11/30/09

Prentice Hall published Nov 5. the fourth edition of math Professor John Jeffrey Lehmann's intermediate algebra textbook.

Intermediate Algebra: Functions and Authentic Applications retails for $143 on Amazon.com.

Lehmann, 47, has taught at CSM for 20 years.

"Publishers are the ones who decide the price of a book," said Lehmann. "Authors typically get 10 to 15 percent of book sale proceeds."

"My Mathlab is bundled with my books as a way for students to save money," said Lehmann. "The e-book comes free with Mymathlab. For me, I require students to have MyMathLab only for my online classes as students need it to do online homework."

"My Mathlab by itself retails for $75," said CSM bookstore manager James Peacock. "The e-book is only valid for 18 months and can be accessed only by one unique user."

Students should verify with their instructors if MyMathLab is required, Lehmann said. Students will be able to rent or buy used textbooks if their instructors do not require MyMathLab for their classes.

Seven fall Math classes currently use the third edition of Intermediate Algebra. Lehmann uses his 2007 Beginning Algebra textbook to teach his online Math 100 class.

"Jay Lehmann's math textbooks are used across the nation, not just at CSM," said Peacock.

Lehmann began writing Intermediate Algebra 15 years ago in 1995. The first and third editions were published in 1998 and 2007.

"There is a need to come up with new editions every three to four years as my math textbooks use a lot of data; I need to update them in order to stay current," said Lehmann.

About 15 to 20 percent of a book's content needs to be changed before a book can become a new edition, said Lehmann.

The first few editions are essential for authors to act on users' feedback to make corrections and add new features, said Lehmann. Later editions are needed partly for business reasons, for both publishers and authors, and partly to stay relevant in a highly competitive college textbook industry.

Lehmann estimated that about 20 people were involved in the production of the book. "They were salaried people employed by the publisher; only the author gets a commission."

Lehmann wrote his math textbooks in response to students' comments that math textbooks available on the market were boring and dry.

"Before, students often came up to me to ask 'Why are we learning all this (algebra) for?'," said Lehmann. "In 13 years of using my textbooks to teach, I have been asked that question only once."

All of Lehmann's textbook covers feature a guitar; within the pages of his textbooks are examples of Lehmann using mathematical theory to explain music and even the dimensions of the guitar.

Lehmann graduated from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana with a B.A. in Mathematics in 1985 and an M.S. in Mathematics from Claremont Graduate School in 1986. Lehmann taught part-time at Chabot College and Diablo Valley College before coming to CSM in 1989.

In his rare spare time between teaching and writing textbooks, Lehmann performs with his band The Procrastinistas.

Obesity in a can


Sharon Ho
Issue Date: 11/30/09

Nearly 200 regular sodas, excluding those bought from the cafeteria or bookstore, are sold daily from 17 vending machines located throughout the campus.

A UCLA Health Policy Research study released Sept. 17 reported that adults who drink one or more regular soda each day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than those who don't. Among adults, drinking soda is also associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Obesity-related medical expenditures now cost taxpayers $147 billion annually, according to a report published by the Health Affairs Journal in July 2009. A University of Chicago study released Nov. 27 expects annual diabetes-related spending to nearly triple in 25 years' time from $113 billion in 2009 to $336 billion in 2034.

A look at the nutrition label of a 12-ounce can of soda shows that it contains 39 grams or nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. This is more than the recommended daily intake of 32 grams or eight teaspoons of added sugar based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

"Regular soda contains calories from sugar, and excess consumption of calories leads to obesity," said Health Services Coordinator Sharon Bartels. A one-penny-per-ounce tax on soda will raise $14.9 billion annually and reduce consumption by 10 percent, said a health policy report released Oct. 15 by The New England Journal of Medicine. "A tax is fine if it deters people from over-drinking soda because of the higher price," said business management major Kathy Erb, 49.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a dollar could buy 875 calories of soda but just 250 calories of vegetables or 170 calories of fresh fruit. Proceeds from soda taxes could be used to make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable, for a start. "[The government] is always telling people to eat healthy food, but healthy food is expensive. It should be expensive to eat crappy food," Erb said.

An argument that such a tax falls most heavily on low-income groups fizzles because these people stand to benefit from reduced soda consumption. Federal corn subsidies that enable corn to be made into the cheap high fructose corn syrup used to sweeten soda and other fast food should also be addressed.

If passed, healthcare reform that prevents health insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, would also help to reduce obesity. Health insurers, when realizing the health of their bottom lines are tied to that of their policyholders, will throw their considerable weight behind agribusiness reform to make healthy food cheaper and more accessible to consumers. Now that would be the positive snowball effect if healthcare reform passes this winter.

Top Award for newspaper


Name: Sharon Ho
Issue Date: 11/30/09

The San Matean won first prize for newswriting and a general excellence award at the 2009 regional community college journalism conference.

About 300 students and advisers from 21 colleges attended the Nov. 5 Northern California Journalism Association of Community Colleges Conference at San José State University.

The conference featured workshops and on-the-spot writing and photography contests.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Las Vegas Sun reporter Matt Huffman gave the conference's keynote address, "The Revolution Will Not be Twitterized: Preparing for Journalism in the 21st Century."

"The roots of journalism is journalism," said Huffman as he addressed an auditorium packed with journalism college students and their advisers.

"If journalism is going to succeed in the 21st century, we must first understand that the medium is not the message.

We must realize that the Internet and social networking stuff is not journalism, but a tool for journalism."

"The world doesn't need online journalism; the world needs more journalists online," said Huffman.

"The world needs journalists online more than ever who can explain an increasingly complex world."

Senior staff writer John Servatius's March report of the 12-year jail sentencing of 27-old Sarith Soun for the 2006 "voluntary manslaughter" of 19-year-old Skyline College student Boris Albinder over a parking space outside a club on Geary Boulevard won the coveted first prize for mail-in newswriting out of 50 entries.

"Very strong quotes," the judges wrote.

"Good understanding of the legal system."

The San Matean was one of only three college newspapers out of 21 entries to receive the "Generally Excellent" award for enterprise or series reporting for its coverage of ongoing budget woes at CSM.

"Solid report - good sourcing," the judges wrote.

The reporters honored included Laura Babbitt, Margaret Baum, Erin Browner, Alexa Hemken, Courtney Jamieson, Christine Karavas, Dylan Lewman and John Servatius.

Erin Browner, Editor of The San Matean for the spring 2009 semester also garnered an Honorable Mention among 37 entries in the News Photo mail-in contest for her photo of students marching last March in Sacramento to protest budget cuts.

"Professionals handle the judging so these awards, which include comments, are especially relevant for beginning journalists," said Ed Remitz, adviser to the San Matean.

"We are proud of the students and their accomplishments."

"Awards are great but we remain focused on producing the best work possible for our newspaper and website," said Baum.

Cosmetology celebrates Thanksgiving with international feast

Sharon Ho
Issue date: 11/30/09

Cosmetology staff and students bonded over potluck lunch and salsa dancing at the annual Cosmetology Diversity Thanksgiving festival held Nov. 24.

The cosmetology department was awash in a rainbow spectrum of colors as students dressed in their ethnic costumes while others were decked in bright colors to celebrate the occasion. Cosmetology student Fanny Tam wore a gold Chinese cheongsam top and a Spanish cosmetology freshman student was spotted in a red and yellow Indian sari top.

Turkish cosmetology students Fatih Gunes, 22, and Pinar Birincioglu, 33, brought Baklava and Pogaca. Baklava is a Turkish dessert pastry made of layers of flaky fillo dough sweetened with honey and filled with chopped nuts. Poga?a is a type of puff pastry eaten in Turkey and some European nations. "Poga?a is a saltish pastry filled with ground beef; I made the dough myself," said Birincioglu.

Maria Santos brought Pancit, a famous Filipino noodle dish. Her pancit dish included shrimp, shredded chicken, carrots and lemon as its main ingredients.

Cosmetology student Elena Malevanaya, 28, brought Russian apple pie. "I really love potluck, really enjoy being together, and wish the potluck was once a month, instead of once a year," said Malevanaya.

Cosmetology student Sophia Piosalan, 24, brought white rice and Spam, a precooked meat product consisting of chopped pork shoulder meat and ham meat. "Hawaiians are crazy about Spam," said Piosalan. Spam, also known as "The Hawaiian Steak", is featured on the menus of fast food restaurants like McDonald's and Burger King in Hawaii.

"I'm so full," said cosmetology student Noemi Anaya after a turn at the potluck buffet table. Anaya, who is of Mexican ethnicity, brought corn bread. Corn is a staple of the Mexican diet and Mexicans are known as "people of the corn." After lunch, cosmetology coordinator and instructor Becky Boosalis led the students in a salsa dance session. Salsa dancing is a Spanish dance with Cuban roots. "In salsa what you do is soften your knees, and your hips will start to sway," said Boosalis.

"I love dancing; I learned new steps today, and also burned some calories from the potluck," said cosmetology student Jesus Alejandro, 19.

Alejandro, who is Puerto Rican, brought pizza for the potluck as he "loves Italian food." Alejandro also showed a video of a traditional Quinceañera to his cosmetology classmates.

Quinceañera, meaning "becoming a lady", is a Latin American coming of age ceremony held on a girl's 15th birthday, comparable to a sweet sixteen celebration. During the Quinceañera celebration, the 15-year old lady dances with her father.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Strapped for cash? Swap your textbooks online




Sharon Ho
Issue date: 11/30/09

Students can choose to swap college textbooks online at the end of the semester instead of selling them back to the bookstore.

Bookins.com and TextbookRevolt.com, based in New York City and Sunnyvale CA, began operations in 2004 and 2007 respectively.

Bookins.com provides swapping services for textbooks, literature and DVDs while TextbookRevolt.com helps to facilitate the swapping of college textbooks.

Both companies do not earn any profits from their college textbooks swapping services.

"The goal of our service is first to provide a worry-free trading system for book and movie lovers, and second to eventually make a profit," said Mitchell Silverman, one of the two founder of Bookins in a phone interview with The San Matean. "On average, we make about $1 of the $4.49 shipping fee. That is after we pay for the postage itself, delivery confirmation, credit card fees, and fee for printing prepaid postage. This $1 covers overhead and salaries and, eventually, any profits we make. Bookins.com does not earn any money from shipping college textbooks as they tend to be heavier."

Bookins.com is an Amazon affliate, said Silverman. Bookins.com gets six percent commission for every book that is bought from Amazon through the Bookins.com website.

"We are a commercial venture looking to help students save and make money, wrote Kevin Hornschemeier, one of the two founders of TextbookRevolt.com in an e-mail interview with the San Matean. "Textbook Revolt takes no money from students. We have them pay for shipping on their own and we make nothing off of this."

"Boaz (Salik, the second founder,) and I both like to read and used to exchange books," said Silverman. "We were two families living in small New York apartments who usually donated our books to the library after reading them. One day the New York library stopped accepting book donations, and we did not know what to do with our books. We decided to create a website where literature lovers could swap books online for free."

Bookins.com later expanded to include college textbooks and DVDs.

"While in college we (Hornschemeier and co-founder Jaisen Mathai) both felt the pain of buying extremely expensive textbooks and barely getting anything when selling them back," wrote Hornschemeier. "We felt there should be a better, cheaper way to get our textbooks. By creating Textbook Revolt we are bringing together students across the country to help each other out in the never-ending quest to alleviate the textbook burden."

Bookins.com has filed a patent this year for the Bayesian logic system that Bookins.com currently uses.

The system fairly determines the value of how much a book or DVD is worth, said Silverman. Bookins.com works with United States Postal Service for all shipping nationwide.

"USPS has an impressive system where you can print postage online," said Silverman. "USPS triggers e-mails and allows us to track the delivery status of the items, which we then pass on to our customers."

TextbookRevolt.com will be relaunching their website in December.

"Textbook Revolt started out as a textbook swapping service," wrote Hornschemeier.

"This was a great start, but we wanted to find a way to save students money and help them make money. In December we will be launching a new version of Textbook Revolt. The new version will allow students to rent out their used textbooks to other students," said Hornschemeier.

"Unlike other services where students sell their books, they get to make money while retaining ownership of their book, and they can continue to rent the book out each semester and make even more money," Hornschemeir said. "Students needing textbooks will also save a lot of money by renting textbooks from other students. Textbook Revolt will facilitate all transactions, and allow users to easily print prepaid shipping labels, to make the process simple and able to be done from home."

Bookins.com states that all books and DVDs must be in good condition, said Silverman. Bookins.com trusts its users and therefore guarantees the issue of free credit for customers who have received damaged items. To be more environmentally-friendly, Bookins.com reuses its packages.

The results of the latest Bookins survey conducted earlier this year found that around 70 percent of their users are women, with Bookins.com users being predominantly in their mid-20s to mid-30s, said Silverman.

Bookins.com has employees scattered nationwide.

TextbookRevolt.com founders Hornschemeier and Mathai have worked together on numerous ventures since meeting over five years ago in 2005.

Mathai was co-founder of Photagious, an online photo sharing web site, and Hornschemeier was hired on as the lead engineer. Hornschemeier now works as a web developer at Strata-G, one of Cincinnati's advertising and marketing agencies, and Mathai is a software engineer at Yahoo! Inc.

Recession relief: rent textbooks

Students worrying about spending hundreds of dollars buying textbooks every semester can save money by renting textbooks from the
CSM bookstore or online.

CSM students spent an estimated annual average of $1,638 this fall semester on books and supplies, more than double the in-state tuition fees of $816, according to the College Board, the association that manages college placement tests like the SAT and AP.

College textbook prices nearly tripled from December 1986 to December 2004, according to a Government Accountability Office Study released in 2005.

"College students spend an average of $400 per semester and up to $1,000 each year on textbooks," said CSM bookstore manager James Peacock.

The CSM bookstore allows students to rent textbooks for the semester and needs teachers to commit to an edition of a textbook for two years before the bookstore can start a textbook rental course, said Peacock.

The bookstore currently has textbook rentals for 12 courses, Peacock said.

"The CSM bookstore buys books back for half the original price and can buy used textbooks only if the textbook is to be used for at least two semesters," said Peacock. "With new editions coming out almost every year, teachers often require students to get the latest editions."

Students can potentially save hundreds of dollars renting books via online textbook rental companies like Chegg.com, CampusBookRentals.com and CollegeBookRenter.com, based in Santa Clara, California, Ogden, Utah and North Carolina respectively.

"The word 'Chegg' was conceived from the 'chicken or egg first' theory," said Tina Couch, Chegg.com's vice president of public relations in a phone interview. "Chegg.com helps students save 60 to 75 percent off the list price, and has to-date helped save students over $71 million."

"CampusBookRentals.com was started in 2007 by Alan Martin on a few select campuses, and now we serve students on over 4,000 campuses," wrote spokesperson Jase McCormick in an e-mail. "Students can receive cash for referring friends to CampusBookRentals.com."

"Our slogan is 'Because College is Expensive Enough'," wrote Holly White, public relations officer of CollegeBookrenter.com in an e-mail. "CollegeBookRenter.com can save students up to 85 percent on textbooks.

Students can choose 60, 85 or 125 day rentals at Chegg.com, 60, 90, or 130 day rentals from CollegeBookRenter.com and 55, 85, or 130 day rentals from CampusBookRentals.com.

CampusBookRentals.com also allows students to select their own due date with a minimum rental period of 30 days.

Health: The Basics by Donatelle, a required textbook for two-unit general ed course Health Science 100, costs $83.70 new and $62.80 used from the CSM bookstore; it costs $34.99 to rent for 125 days from Chegg.com, $41.54 to rent for 130 days from CampusBookRentals.com and $31.38 to rent for 130 days from CollegeBookRenter.com.

Looking In/ Looking Out by Adler, a required textbook for three-unit general ed course Speech 120, costs $29.35 to rent for a semester from the CSM bookstore; it costs $34.49 to rent for 125 days from Chegg.com, $29.13 to rent for 130 days from CampusBookRentals.com, and is at the time of writing "currently unavailable" at CollegeBookRenter.com.

Sales taxes and shipping fees are excluded from the listed prices.

Students wanting to own the books they are renting can buy it for the listed price minus the rent already paid from all three companies.

"Chegg.com allows for minor highlighting but requests that students limit writing in the book," said Couch.

"It's like renting a DVD; you are not supposed to return a scratched disc."

"We do allow students to highlight in our textbooks as long as it can be used by another student; pencil and ink markings are also allowed," wrote McCormick.

"In making this an option for the student we ask students to be respectful to other students who may be using the book after them."

"Chegg.com offers over 2.4 million titles, and we guarantee that textbooks will be delivered in fewer than seven days," said Couch. "You can choose to pay more if you need your books to be delivered in two or three days' time."

CampusBookRentals.com offers free shipping with delivery times of seven to 14 business days, expedited shipping with delivery times of five to eight business days and hopes to add a two-day shipping option in the near future.

All three companies offer free return shipping.

11.3 cents of every "new textbook dollar" sold from the CSM Bookstore goes to its CSM student employees, according to the National Association of College Stores.

"Chegg.com plants a tree for every book rented or bought," said Couch. "Since Chegg.com began in 2007, Chegg.com has planted over one million trees through Chegg.com's partnership with American Forest."

CampusBookRentals.com donates part of its proceeds to a humanitarian project fund which in 2008 helped to provide laptops to school children through the One Laptop Per Child Foundation.

Since CollegeBookRenter.com began operations in May 2009, it has donated $8,475.75 of its proceeds to the American Heart Association.

"Most CSM professors require students to use online access kits or other supplemental material provided with a new textbook, so sometimes students can't rent textbooks as most access kits are valid for only 18 months and can only be used once," said Peacock.

Chegg.com currently offers the supplemental kits of only some textbooks, said Couch.

CampusBookRentals.com can only guarantee the textbooks as supplemental materials may have been damaged in the first use of the book, wrote McCormick.

"If the customer needs access to these kits then renting the textbook may not be the best option," wrote McCormick. "It is always wise to check with your professor before ordering."

"Make sure students are checking used book prices as well as sometimes you can buy for less than renting ," added McCormick.

Chegg.com has started a pilot rental program of 25 titles with textbook publisher McGraw-Hill Cos that launched in August this year.

"In the future, Chegg.com is looking to expand on this," said Couch. "In the meantime, for textbooks with very tailored kits, you will still need to get them from your college bookstore."

Bookrenter.com did not reply to queries from the San Matean.

Students can buy and sell books on Valorebooks.com, buy electronic textbooks from Cengage.com and CourseSmart.com, and compare prices on CampusBooks.com and GetTextbooks.com. Students can also swap their textbooks and pay only for shipping charges at Bookins.com and Textbookrevolt.com.