SA pres. to launch new site

One of Student Association President Audai Shakour’s pillar campaign promises will be launched by the end of September: a multi-faceted and interactive Web site to support the GW community.

Shakour will unveil www.colonialtrader.com, which will combine various aspects of well-known Internet communities such as thefacebook.com, MySpace, Amazon.com and craigslist. Shakour’s new portal will primarily cater to the GW student body.

“The future is online, and what better place to introduce a new, one-stop shop Web site than right here, right now at GW?” Shakour, a senior, said.

Features of the site will include an online marketplace where students can post almost anything for swap or sale, online messages boards to announce apartment listings, study group meetings and parties, student blogs and SA administrative message boards to post notes to students.

“The Web site provides students with an avenue with which they can learn about the current administration, becoming involved with the SA, and most importantly, it allows each and every student to take advantage of all that the SA has to offer them,” said sophomore Casey Pond, Shakour’s vice president of public affairs.

Acting Vice President of Judicial and Legislative Affairs Will Donovan has been working closely with Shakour and GW alumni at SwapSwop, a Web design company that is building Colonial Trader. He said that while the version under development will only be used for the GW community, the basic model can be offered elsewhere.

“We’re not developing the site for GW only. It is a turnkey Web site that can be sold to other colleges and universities in the country,” Donovan, a junior, said.

The SA will partner with SwapSwop to offer the Colonial Trader template to other universities for $10,000 each year, Donovan said.

He added that selling the template will help cover the $11,000 Shakour spent from his summer budget to fund the site. Along with relying on sales from the site, the SA will be offering a $10 discount card that can be purchased with Colonial Cash and used at select local restaurants, salons and stores.

“I’m confident that through a variety of methods we will make that money back,” Donovan said, referring to Colonial Trader’s development costs.

Selling the site to other universities may provide large payouts in the future, since Web sites like Colonial Trader are relatively uncommon.

“We think this is a great opportunity for GW since only about five of the 25,000 universities in the country have trade Web sites like ours,” Donovan said. Currently, only a handful of universities, including Yale, Princeton and UCLA, have similar sites.

Princeton’s student portal, called TigerTrade, resembles what the Colonial Trader site will look like. The Web site, which can be accessed at www.princeton.edu/usg, describes TigerTrade as “a brand new online auction/fixed-price sales system.”

Leslie-Bernard Joseph, president of Princeton’s student government, said she has used the site frequently since it was launched in February 2005.

“I’ve used the new site so far to buy things like furniture, DVDs and headphones with an iPod carrying case,” Joseph said. “The best transaction I ever made was selling concert tickets. The experience was great.”

The main difference between TigerTrade and Colonial Trader is that the Princeton site operates independently. SwapSwop CEO and GW alumnus Novis Rustandi said Colonial Trader will eventually become linked to similar sites at other colleges.

“We will create a local Web portal for each school that is also connected to other schools’ local Web portals,” Rustandi said. “When we have a lot of local Web portals connected to each other, students will have the most benefits because they will have bigger chances to find what they want.”

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