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November 17, 2015

Student government relaunches marketplace website

A new version of Marketplace was launched on Friday, November 13, after the previous version of the site was down for three weeks.

Marketplace, found at marketplace.uchicago.edu, is essentially a Craigslist for UChicago students that is run by Student Government. Students can post advertisements for anything from subletting their apartments to selling furniture and textbooks.

For improved security, the re-launched Marketplace no longer requires students to make an account before using it. Now, only a uchicago.edu email is needed to create a listing. Fourth-year Jeremy Archer, Student Government’s Director of Technology, stated that this was because people had been reusing their CNET passwords for the site when creating Marketplace accounts.

As before, users do not need uchicago.edu email to view the listings. “We’re still trying to allow community members access to Marketplace,” Archer said.

The latest version of Marketplace features a new look, which shows pictures from posts rather than the titles of posts in list format. Interested buyers can also contact sellers directly through a form on the side of the listing, rather than having to email them separately.

“By and large, it’s just meant to make it more reliable, a little faster, a little bit cleaner,” Archer said.

The older version of Marketplace went down on Monday, October 26, around 5 a.m., due to a power failure of the server it had been hosted on.

Archer said that they’ve had problems with the server before, which used to be housed in the basement of the Reynolds Club.

“It usually [would] crash and you just [had] to turn it back on again,” said Archer. ”I went in, tried to turn it on, it didn’t turn on.”

Student Government had been working with IT Services and the Center for Leadership and Involvement (CLI) to revamp Marketplace since before the site went down, but the server’s failure expedited the project.

“We wanted to ensure that Student Government’s new Marketplace website would have all the right controls in place for a successful launch,” said Sarah Cunningham, senior director for student life. “The Center for Leadership and Involvement, as the advisors to Student Government, will continue to support Student Government leaders moving forward with this project.”

“It’s actually amazing that we’ve been able to get it done this quickly,” Archer said.

The new Marketplace is now hosted on Google App Engine. Marketplace’s code is open-source, and can be viewed here. https://github.com/uchicago-sg/caravel

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