UP launches online swap market for university and private property

Graphics: Žurnál UP
Monday 29. April 2024, 8:00 – Text: Michal Zych

Just as at home, where there are always items no longer needed but would be a shame to toss out, so too at the university. The new online UP Marketplace should help find new owners for such items, exchanging university property between workplaces and private property between students and employees. Its aim is to reduce waste, rubbish, and needless purchasing of new items by offering a safe environment in its own application connected to university accounts.

You have too many file folders in your office for your filing cabinet – or vice versa? During spring cleaning you’ve decided to get rid of a set of coffee cups, but don’t know what to do with them? These are just the sort of cases that Sustainable University, together with the UP Computing Centre and the UP Communications Office, had in mind when they developed the UP Marketplace swap.

“We often hear from workplaces when for example they are taking over a classroom or moving to a new space and the old furniture is in good order and they do not want to throw it away, asking if we might know someone who would want it. One of the goals of the UP Sustainable Development Strategy is to transition to a circular economy, which is why we decided to develop an internal application which should help us trade items internally at UP. At the same time, we decided that this application could also serve for private property, in order for people to offer things from their household which they no longer use,” said UP’s Sustainability Officer Zuzana Huňková.

The swap environment is divided into two main sections. The first is university property, available to all UP workers after log-in. Anyone can browse and request items – though only those who are authorised to transfer property can advertise items. Free property includes items which are either inventoried or not.

The second section is private property, which is accessible to UP students and employees and the public offering private property for free. Anyone with a university account can list items; the public can browse items and request them. All items in the pilot programme are offered for free; eventually people will be able contact the seller to negotiate – for example if the item is free to pick up.

The application looks like an internet portal, so its use is intuitive; at the same time further improvements are planned. “We believe that a swap operating within the UP community will be more trustworthy so people will be happier to offer and buy things here than on public internet portals. This innovation supplements the Freeshop, UP’s re-use centre, which has been operating since 2017 under the auspices of the student organisation Sustainable Palacký,” Huňková added. In September and May (at this year’s Majáles May Student Celebrations), Sustainable University is organising a physical swap meet in order to let students exchange items, so they won’t have to needlessly transport old items or purchase new ones.

“Transitioning our economy to a circular-oriented system represents a challenge for society as a whole, and is one which can be resolved holistically, in an interdisciplinary manner. To get the most use out of products makes sense for all participants, and it make sense for the environment. Thanks to extending items’ use, there is less waste. And then there is no need to manufacture so many new products, saving valuable resources. Why throw away items which are in perfectly good shape, just because they’re used? Furniture, clothing, toys, prams, and other items – there are always people who need such things, and can re-use them,” added Michal Malacka, Vice-Rector for Strategy and External Relations.

The UP Marketplace is accessible at bazar.upol.cz and also has its own “tile” at the UP Portal in the section “Add an application to the desktop”, which you can place wherever you want on your profile page.


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