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May 11, 2010

Summer Breeze tickets for sale online in SG pilot program

Summer Breeze tickets are available for the first time on a revamped uBazaar, a Student Government (SG) website that it hopes will turn into a platform for Houses and RSOs to sell merchandise and more.

The website, ubazaar.uchicago.edu, allows students to purchase tickets by credit card and pick up them up at will call the day of the event. The Major Activities Board (MAB) allocated 400 Summer Breeze tickets for online purchase, which went on sale Wednesday.

“It’s kind of a trial run for now,” second-year MAB Marketing Representative Sam Abbott said. “We hope to be able to use uBazaar more in the future if this goes well.”

For fourth-year Chris Williams, the outgoing SG vice president for student affairs and uBazaar point-person, “the idea seemed an obvious one.”

With the website, Houses and RSOs will be able to sell merchandise and event tickets to both students and alumni, eliminating the need for tabling in the Reynolds Club, Williams said. “We are piloting it with MAB’s Summer Breeze and a few other organizations, as we work out the kinks and plan for a system where multiple RSOs are using uBazaar simultaneously,” he said.

Whether it will get to that point depends on how Summer Breeze tickets sell, and if they can be easily distributed to students, Williams said. Around 100 tickets have been sold so far, Williams said, and an e-mail will soon be sent to the U of C community letting them know tickets are available online.

Although SG created uBazaar in 2008, when it was used to sell Summer Breeze tickets, the site was abandoned for technical reasons. “Going into this year, I set uBazaar as a priority for our slate to get restarted,” Williams said.

The site was developed by student-run media group Stockyard Media and was created with the cooperation of NSIT, ORCSA, and the Bursar’s Office.

The website charges a one-dollar processing fee used to cover costs associated with credit card processing and online transactions. Program representatives said there will be a $1.50 fee per transaction in the future to help SG to recoup uBazaar’s development costs and to fund future online development.

“Ultimately SG won’t make a significant profit on uBazaar, and if it does, the goal is to wean SG’s budget off of the Student Activities Fee,” Williams said. “uBazaar is meant to be a service for the University community, not a way for SG to profit off of a much-needed solution.”

The uBazaar website is part of a larger initiative, including the revamped SG blog and SG apartment search website, that aims to provide online services for students through Student Government.

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