Dartlist offers sustainable way to buy and sell used stuff

by Sean Schultz

23 Sep 2011

Look­ing for a “greatly used sofa,” a cot­tage in Sharon, V.t., or a re­tractable baby gate? Mosey on over to Dartlist.​com to learn more about get­ting your hands on these sweet of­fers. Billed as “Craigslist for Dart­mouth,” Dartlist.​com is an Of­fice of Sus­tain­abil­ity-run pro­ject that launched ear­lier this week. The web­site of­fers Craigslist-style post­ings for items to be bought, sold, traded or given away for free in a vir­tual mar­ket­place. A cal­en­dar and fo­rums pro­vide a cen­tral­ized cy­ber­space to in­form the com­mu­nity of up­com­ing events and hold dis­cus­sions.

Site mem­ber­ship is cur­rently lim­ited to Dart­mouth stu­dents, fac­ulty or staff, but Sus­tain­abil­ity Di­rec­tor Rosie Kerr said that she is in­ter­ested in using Dartlist to en­gage with the local com­mu­nity. Kerr over­saw the pro­ject and con­structed it with the help of Fedor Pe­trenko, a re­cent Thayer grad­u­ate and Sus­tain­abil­ity Of­fice in­tern. Sim­i­lar pro­jects have been started over the years but none have yet gained last­ing trac­tion on cam­pus, Kerr said.

You might think that the Hacker Club or a rogue Comp­Sci major would be be­hind this ven­ture, but con­sider it for a mo­ment longer and it makes good sense that the Sus­tain­abil­ity Of­fice is back­ing Dartlist — the pro­ject re­duces waste and keeps use­ful goods in cir­cu­la­tion when they may oth­er­wise be dis­carded. To this end, users are free to post what­ever they de­sire with the ex­cep­tion of com­mer­cial list­ings by busi­nesses. As for over­sight of what those posts may say, there is cur­rently no au­to­mated or sys­tem­atized over­sight in place to check posts. Kerr says that the traf­fic is man­age­able enough that the site cre­ators are still able to man­u­ally ver­ify each list­ing and flag if nec­es­sary.

Un­like Craigslist, posts do not cycle through but re­main on­line until they’re ac­tively deleted, which may cause is­sues as Dartlist ex­pands and peo­ple re­ceive in­quir­ing calls months after their post. Dartlist is in its early days, but Kerr hopes that stu­dent, fac­ulty and staff par­tic­i­pa­tion and feed­back will lead to site im­prove­ments.

They may soon have more feed­back on their hands than they’ll know how to han­dle. On Wednes­day morn­ing, the Sus­tain­abil­ity Of­fice an­nounced the hard launch of Dartlist in a D2U blitz, which fol­lows the beta test­ing over the sum­mer and Mon­day’s soft launch. Within just 30 min­utes of the D2U blitz, Kerr counted 35 new unique users. As more peo­ple learn of the site and add con­tent, the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits and uses of the site in­crease dras­ti­cally. Given enough time and trac­tion, Dart­mouth could fi­nally have a home­grown Craigslist to call our very own. Here’s hop­ing.




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