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Craigslist-like market for campuses gathers users

The beginnings and ends of semesters are marked by many things: stress, a flurry of hasty packing and often piles of furniture and Walmart rugs being thrown away.

Sensing a need for a Craigslist-like marketplace, two Duke alumni have created The Campus Market, a more sustainable way for students to discard their items. 

“At the end of each school year, as an undergrad, I noticed that there were gently-used items left at the curbside and I wouldn’t really get the full dollar amount of use of out things like textbooks” said cofounder Brad Stinson. 

“Essentially tons and tons of furniture and items are discarded by university students so we’re going to universities and reaching out to sustainability departments to establish ourselves as a service for students to use.”

Launched earlier this year, the start-up has already seen a good deal of growth with 22 college campuses all over the East coast, from New York to Florida. Over 18,000 college students have signed up for the free service.

The burgeoning business has a growing presence on seven campuses in North Carolina: UNC, Wake Forest University, Duke University, UNC-Wilmington, East Carolina University, Appalachian State University and NC State University. 

Unlike Craigslist, which is an open market with no safety checks, Stinson's market requires an ".edu" email address and subsequent verification.

“We are using safety checks that universities have in place to make sure our users are safe and verified,” Stinson said.

And users have noticed the extra safety measures.

“Craigslist can be a little sketchy when you don’t know who you’re dealing with,” said UNC graduate student Kathie Sun. “Students can feel safer and more secure selling to other students.” dir

UNC freshman Anna Hostetler, who has browsed on Craigslist but never made a purchase, said that she thought the new market was a good idea. 

“It does seem safer. There’s a lot of spam stuff on Craigslist so this seems like a much safer venue to buy and sell,” she said. 

“(A market) for students by students seems like a good way to do it because it would be local, safe, and the prices would probably be more fair because, let’s be real, college students are poor.”

At UNC, almost 2,000 students have signed up for the market, but the marketplace at NC State is the largest in the network thus far with over 7,000 students signed up.  

“Each market is also self-contained, so if you’re a UNC student, you’ll only see posts from other UNC students. It’s much safer to go across campus to pick something up than driving 30 minutes to some random person’s house or a dark alley somewhere to pick something up,” Stinson said.

However, Stinson hopes to keep expanding the service and is considering allowing some interactions between markets on college campuses that are in close proximity, like UNC and Duke.

Even though there is the hope of expansion, Stinson wants to keep with the original message of his business. 

“The Campus Market is 100 percent free and always will be. College is expensive as it is, and it would be unfair and inconsiderate of us to charge students an upfront fee to use this service,” Stinson said.

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