When BC students want to buy or sell books or supplies, want to find a place to live or look for job prospects, there’s one place they mainly go – the bulletin boards on the first floor of the C building, next to the café. Here, students can browse flyers to find what they’re looking for. As of Nov. 14, there is a new alternative, called “Student Commerce,” found on the ASG website
Started by ASG Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial representative Gebriel Amare, the website functions as an online version of the bulletin board. Student Programs coordinator and ASG adviser, Brandon Lueken, described it as “like a personal Craigslist for Bellevue College, something like that within our community but is accessible by our students.”
Amare’s main motivation behind making the Student Commerce site came from his own experiences as a student: “Students are always running around looking for cheaper books, and I didn’t like the fact that I always had to come to the bulletin board and look for books, not having access from my home, so when I ran for my position, made sure that [would] be one of the things to be fixed because a lot of students I’m pretty sure are in the same shoes as me. We want to get cheaper books, we want to find out what’s going on, what rooms are available, what jobs and things are available, especially from home.”
There are several drawbacks to the physical bulletin board, the main being the process to approve postings. All postings must be approved and stamped by the Student Programs front desk, but there is nothing preventing people from posting what they want.
Lueken elaborated on some examples of issues he saw, “Somebody had covered almost the entire board with their ad and their ad only, so there were eight copies of this guy’s ad who was selling 10 books, [it] blocks everybody else’s ads.” Multiple postings are a problem, other problems come from not knowing the process or requirements of ads. “We have housing ads, that say they want a certain race of people only, discriminatory stuff, none of that is stamped. We get stuff that’s written entirely in a different language. We like to have it in English and whatever the person’s native language so they can have it so it can be accessible for theoretically all students because our common language here is English, we encourage that,” continued Leuken.
With the Student Commerce website however, ads won’t be posted publicly until approved by an administrator, removing the possibility of discriminatory ads staying up. There are no plans to take the bulletin boards down, but for the website to function side by side with the bulletin boards on campus.
Signage will inform students about the website, to drive traffic to both outlets. “We’ll be working with the PALS center, bunch of clubs and programs to do this. There’s a BC book exchange group, we’re transitioning that group there to Student Commerce,” said Amare.