Parks student launches ‘Campus Bazar’

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Thomas Muntaner, a senior in Saint Louis University’s Park’s College of Engineering and Aviation Technology, wanted to help his girlfriend find a partner for one of her class projects. Having trouble, Muntaner had a thought — why not have a website where students could find partners for class projects? That thought expanded into his website, Campusbazar.

The site serves as a social networking site with the goal of linking students from similar colleges and universities to locate buyers and sellers for goods such as textbooks, furniture and even to find sublessors for apartments or partners for school projects.

“We found that a lot of students end up buying and selling the same things every year, buying the same couches from target every year and throwing them out,” Muntaner said. “Students are always having trouble finding people to buy their books and need a way to contact other students.”

Muntaner said that Campusbazar will only allow access to students with .edu email addresses, and it will allow them to connect with students from their own universities and other schools nearby for free. He said that by requiring an .edu email address, it verifies that the person on the other side of the transaction will be a student.

“On other websites, like Craigslist, you never know the other person and whether to trust them. Through Campusbazar, you’re guaranteed that the other person is a student,” Muntaner said.

The website will not allow transactions between students on websites via credit card; rather, Campusbazar exists only to link the students and allow the two parties to carry out the transaction independently.

According to Muntaner, other site features enhance the users’ experience. An iPhone application will be released in the next two weeks, which will allow Campusbazar users to browse and post items and receive message notifications on their phones. Students will also be able to compare prices offered by sellers to Amazon listings using the Amazon Associate widget.

“It’s a good way to keep students from exploiting each other, since they’re easily able to check it with amazon.com, which usually has the lowest prices,” Muntaner said.

The site, launched on March 15, earns all of its revenue from advertisements.

Muntaner said that he plans to allow companies to post deals and special offers on the site for a fee. Using the site will be completely free for students.

Muntaner developed the website over the course of a year, and he said that the programming aspect of the project was difficult despite his experience in computer programming.

“The language I used, I had never used before, so basically I had to learn a new language and then program with it,” Muntaner said. “I actually rebuilt the website from ground up three or four times because I found a better way to do things and make it more efficient.”

Muntaner said that one of the most appealing aspects of Campusbazar is the ability for students to get a better deal on textbook resale.

“It helps make sure you get the most bang for your buck so you can spend that money you earned from your books. It helps students buy their books for the next semester and makes sure they’re not constantly losing money,” Muntaner said.

Senior Joe Andreoni said that he was excited to use the website and that it gives students a cost-effective means of buying and selling.

“I think it’s a great idea. It saves students money, which is always a plus, and it avoids wasting materials when students are done with them,” Andreoni said. “They can recoup some of their money instead of keeping the book on their shelf for years or throwing it out.”

The website can be reached at www.campusbazar.com.