ISU version of Craigslist in the works


Brian Mozey/Iowa State Daily

Students can sell their books back to the ISU Bookstore during normal business hours, but recommended at the end of the semester. The bookstore will have a set price for particular books depending on size and quality of the used book. 

Zach Clemens

ISU students might soon have a website in which they can buy, sell or exchange goods with fellow Cyclones without having to use Facebook.

This website has been dubbed CySwap, and would be developed by Iowa State’s Information Technology Services.

“We don’t really have an online interface for students to exchange goods between people,” said Dan Breitbarth, Student Government president.

Breitbarth likened it to Craigslist, or a Facebook buy/sell/trade page, but more secure. Individuals on the site would only deal with fellow students, and the site is more organized, with aspects like a search feature.

This website would be a place for students to sell and buy textbooks, tickets, furniture or anything of that nature.

The cost for ITS developing the website would be $20,300, which is a couple thousand dollars cheaper than estimates by third-party companies, said Andrew Nguyen, a sophomore in computer science and Student Government’s director of information technology.

“We thought, ‘Why not have [ITS] do it; they’re in-house, and it makes sense to give them the money so it will stay in ISU’s system,’” Nguyen said.

Nguyen pointed out that the site might cut down on waste at the end of semesters, when students throw a lot away. CySwap would allow them to sell that bookshelf or dresser that might otherwise end up in a dumpster.

The $20,300 would be just for the development of the website, with a recurring charge each year. Nguyen said the absolute high end of the recurring charge would be $2,000 per year, but that is the worst-case scenario and would likely be less than that.

At the last Student Government meeting of 2015, senators voted on a bill that would have funded the development of CySwap. However, it was not approved by a vote of 22-10.

Sen. George Weston, graduate student in sociology, who voted against the funding, felt the timing of the bill was off. He had originally heard of the idea for the site in August, but no mention of the site had been made until that last meeting, in which the authors of the bill waived a second reading of the bill.

“I don’t understand why the bill was introduced at the very last meeting,” Weston said. “There was no excuse for this not to be brought to us the week before.”

He went on to say that if the bill gets reintroduced next semester, it will give him time to talk with his constituents and gauge their support of funding CySwap.

“There is still a lot of questions that need to be asked, in terms of liability and security issues, but there was not enough time [because of the end of the semester] to be answered,” Weston said.

Weston said he would definitely be open to approving funding if the proper time is allotted for him to get the opinions of the students he represents.

“There was nothing in the bill where I thought, ‘Absolutely not,'” Weston said. “It was more, ‘Why is this being rushed?’ We should take care of students’ funds more carefully.”

Breitbarth said there is a plan to introduce a new bill the first meeting back from winter break, and if funding is approved, CySwap would be available for use by the summer.