Need a slightly used futon? A pair of new bar stools? How about a pre-owned microwave oven?
“The site works similar to sites like Craigslist.org, where you can post items for free, sign up for free, list for free, people can buy without fees and it’s all used stuff,” Morissey said. “You can list anything you want, there are different sections for stuff for sale, housing for sale, job positions open, services available (like a ride to the grocery store for on-campus students, and a pillow-making service, where a student is willing to make homemade pillows for $5 dollars), and a section where people can post things they are looking for.”
There is a catch, however. You must be a member of the campus community at the University of Missouri–St. Louis with a valid UMSL email address.
“One of the greatest things about this web site,” Morissey said, “which also is what makes it so different from all the other online market places, is that you can only log in with your UMSL email address, making it a lot more secure than sites like Craigslist where anyone can get on.”
Morissey is a junior at UMSL majoring in both communication and Spanish. If that weren’t enough to keep him busy, he serves as a programming chair for the University Program Board and works 22 hours per week at the front desk in the Office of Student Life.
Morissey said he heard about Symblia from his mother, who heard about it at her job, which is at Washington University in St. Louis.
Symblia originated at Washington University. The website’s creators are four students from Holmdel, N. J., and one from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The leader of the group is Seth Einbinder.
“I and my friend, Jordan Zipkin, came up with the concept in October of 2010,” Einbinder said in a recent interview. “We were brainstorming businesses one night instead of doing homework, and we got to talking about how it was hard for Wash U. students to find things that other Wash U. students have and how much of the Wash U. community had an aversion to craigslist.
“We then realized that the school needed an online marketplace, exclusive to the campus community,” Einbinder continued. “When I went home for winter break, myself and three close friends started building the site. From that point it has really taken off and we are in nine different campuses across the U.S. and Canada. We look to be launching more schools in the coming months.”
Einbinder added that the name, Symblia, was a derivative of the Latin root word, sym, which he said translated as “together.” He said that each Symblia campus system restricts participation to that school’s email domain, ensuring that only that campus’s community members may take part.
“Symblia’s key differentiator is its exclusivity,” Einbinder said. “For the UMSL Symblia site, only people with an ‘@umsl.edu’ email address can sign up for the site. This exclusivity brings security and trust to the marketplace that cannot be found on craigslist.”
UMSL’s Symblia site has only gone live recently, Morissey said.
‘The site launched a couple of weeks ago, and we have gotten more than 100 items listed,” he said.
Morissey added that he hopes the website can induce a little more interaction amongst UMSL’s study body.
“I think this website could be great,” he said. “In fact, I am extremely excited about what a great thing this could be for UMSL and what it could do to help bring our campus together.”