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ASI: New senator approved, funding for multimedia cameras

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Jimmy Fields was confirmed Wednesday afternoon as the senator for the Lyles College of Engineering. Michael Price / The Collegian

Associated Students, Inc. confirmed Jimmy Fields as the senator for the Lyles College of Engineering Wednesday afternoon upon recommendation from the personnel committee and ASI President Moses Menchaca.

Fields, a fifth year mechanical engineering major at Fresno State, has participated in many organizations in the engineering department.

“I want to be more vocal in the department and make sure every department is spoken for,” Fields said. “I have a few programs in mind that I want to set up.”

Cheap, Free e-texts for CSU students

Daniel Ward, senator at large for academic affairs, asked ASI senators to inform their constituents about a new California State University service called Affordable Learning Solutions.

The service makes online textbooks and online textbook rentals available to CSU campus bookstores at a lower cost. Some e-texts are even free to students.

Affordable Learning Solutions makes the course content available upon search with the text’s International Standard Book Number (ISBN).

Daniel Clark, senator at large, said that although the materials are available, most students are unaware of them.

Covered California

Beginning Tuesday, Fresno State students will be able to purchase health insurance through the university and Covered California, which are both extensions of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act – popularly dubbed “Obamacare.”

Covered California university representatives shared with ASI the five different levels of plans, including the cost and coverage of each plan and how to qualify.

Many senators had questions about the exemptions from Covered California health insurance.

Neil O’Brien, senator for health and human services, said he favored accepting the penalty for not buying the health insurance, a $95 fee or a fee that costs 1 percent of one’s income, than purchasing the new plans outlined in Covered California.

The penalty fee will be low in 2014, considered a transition year, and will increase afterward, according to Covered California.

“Whether you like Obamacare or hate it, it’s happening,” said Sean Kiernan, vice president for external affairs.

Kiernan said whether or not senators agreed with the health insurance policy, it was their job to communicate the opportunity to students.

Fresno State will recognize the official opening of Covered California on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in the Free Speech Area.

Camera funding for mass communication and journalism department

 Mikey Sanchez, senator for arts and humanities, asked ASI for funding to buy five new Cannon DSLR cameras for the mass communication and journalism department. He said the five cameras would cost about $6,000.

Candace Egan, a multimedia professor, said multimedia classes in the department currently have five cameras for nearly 300 students. Sometimes those students need to use the five cameras in the same two-week period, she said, causing resources to be stretched thin.

Sanchez said he has seen multimedia students even resorting to using their cellphone cameras for projects because there are not enough cameras to go around.

He said the department’s eventual goal is to have a total of 12 cameras.

Senators Clark and Kaitlyn Sims favored funding the department enough money to buy seven cameras, instead of five, so it could reach its goal. ASI said it hopes the cameras will be bought from a local business.

ASI will vote on the issue at the next meeting on Oct. 9.