CALM makes affordable textbooks an option for students

Kathleen Carpio, Student Life Reporter

A CSUSM initiative called Cougars Affordable Learning Materials (CALM) Project encourages and aids faculty to reduce the costs of their textbooks.


The event, CALMing Textbook Costs served as a platform to inform students how to make affordable textbooks an option. Associated Students Inc. (ASI) hosted the event on Thursday, Feb. 21 at Kellogg Plaza. Students shared what they would spend their money on textbooks if prices weren’t so high on a public board.


Paulette Cruz, a College of Education, Health and Human Services and ASI representative, said how much of an impact these educational costs are affecting students.


“A lot of us … have to choose between textbooks or gas… Sometimes it’s more serious, like medicine… it’s hard because you need that textbook to pass a class.”


Cherie Vinopal, a Senior Instructional designer at CSUSM’s Instructional and Information Technology Services said that the CALM project has partnered with ASI and the library to have students spread the word in lowering the costs of textbooks.


She said that there were two students who spent $220 on a textbook and clicker for a single course and they shared their financial concern with an instructor.


“… that instructor has now CALM-ed his course. He is using a free textbook now and he switched from clickers to a free online active learning tool. His class is now fully CALM-ed down to zero cost,” she said.


Celeste Espindola Rodriguez, CHABBS representative and member of ASI Board of Directors, shared her experience.


“I spent $327 dollars this semester on textbooks, when I could have spent that money on my rent… and I know I’m not the only one on campus that struggles when it comes to buying textbooks every semester. So this [event] is here to create awareness…” said Rodriguez.


Vinopal said, “Even though we have done a lot of marketing and a lot of meeting with instructors and professors, we have found that students have the strongest voice.”


For more information about the CALM program and affordable educational resources, info sessions will take place on April 29 and May 2 during U-hour at the Kellogg Library Plaza.


Students can also find more information at