E-Classifieds: Another Way to Sell Stuff

by Staff

By Christine TatumKnight-Ridder Tribune

After receiving what seemed like daily e-mail messages to theentire campus announcing the sale of a student’s futon, DePaulUniversity officials took an unusual step and developed its ownonline marketplace.

That’s not to say that picking through trash bins for discardedbut perfectly good furniture and household appliances isn’t still acompetitive sport at the start and end of each school year. But theuniversity’s Intranet site, called the DePaul Town Square,facilitates the trading of everything from animals to zip drives.

The site, launched six months ago, lets students, faculty andstaff post free ads under several categories, including”electronics,” “tutorial services” and “tickets.”

At the same time, it helps ensure that the university’s e-mailsystem isn’t overloaded with sales pitches or requests for rideshome.

“I think that DePaul is definitely moving in the right direction,”said graduate student David Bohn, who hopes the site will help himsell his 1990 Mazda Protege. Students for years have honored informaltraditions — such as the one at the University of Chicago whereoff-campus apartment dwellers use couches and cookware handed down bylong lines of previous tenants. But relatively few can turn touniversity-sponsored programs for help buying, selling, trading ordonating their really cool “junk.”

Lisa Heller hopes to change that. She organized sales at theUniversity of Richmond in Virginia and Tufts University in Bostonafter seeing the great stuff — computers, fans, microwaves and soupmix — students tossed curbside.

Earlier this year she founded Dump and Run Inc., a nonprofitservice that collects students’ throwaways in the spring and sellsthem to incoming students in the fall. The money raised goes tocharity.

Her efforts and online ventures such as the one at DePaul haveencouraged construction of a Web site aimed at helping students atthe University of South Florida find better homes than the countydump for their unwanted goods.

Florida legislators chipped in $45,000 for the site, which isexpected to launch in November.