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Bellarmine Student Solves Online Shopping for College Students

By Kaleb VanAtter

Many young people find the same issues with online shopping: safety, timeliness and high costs. One Bellarmine student has an idea to fix all these problems in one fell swoop.

Josh Domzalski, a graduating computer science major, had to do a project for his capstone class that would make an impact. Domzalski immediately knew what he wanted to do. He started creating the first online marketplace that limits the market to other students at the same school. He named the project StuShop.

As a student, he always had trouble ordering online because of safety concerns. He never liked the fact that he didn’t know who was on the other side of the order, not to mention the various horror stories from Facebook Marketplace interactions. On top of that, high shipping costs and long shipping times make it inconvenient for the average student. Domzalski said he felt like StuShop solves all these problems.

“The whole idea here is making online shopping safer and more convenient for college students,” Domzalski said. “When you go on here you have a sense of security that everyone you’re buying and selling with goes to your school.”

This website works very similarly to eBay or Facebook Marketplace, but only those with registered college email addresses can view the website. Once signed in, the customers would be able to view and purchase products only from the people at their school.

This format also means that shipping costs would be nearly eliminated, as everyone customers interact with will be from their campus’ area.

The inspiration for the project came from a conversation he had with his dad.

 “We were talking about hesitations people have when they go online with anything,” Domzalski said. A big thing for him was he doesn’t always like buying stuff online because he doesn’t know where it’s coming from or how long it’s going to take to get there.”

Dr. Nathan Johnson, the professor for Domzalski’s capstone class, likes the idea for StuShop.

“I thought it was a good idea. It kind of reminds me in some ways of the way Facebook started,” Johnson said. “[Facebook] grew from that local college niche piece of software into what it is today, which is pretty much a behemoth.”

Johnson said he sees StuShop going through a similar path of development. The project starts as a basic storefront, but over time features can be added that make it more than just a storefront. Johnson explained that these projects can be very fulfilling for students.

“That sort of thing makes you feel pretty good,” Johnson said. “When you go out and do something on your own, and then you have this thing that you did right there. That’s a good feeling, and I’m glad he's able to take what he’s earned here and turn it into something practical.”

Domzalski said that one of the most important factors for the success of a project like this is student interest.

Bellarmine Junior Olivia Reed said that she thinks it would be a great idea for college students to feel safer.

“Whenever I’ve bought things on Facebook Marketplace it doesn’t really feel safe all the time,” Reed said. “Through the StuShop, it has more of that student verification so you feel a little bit safer knowing exactly who you are going to meet for things.”

Reed also pointed out the amount of waste StuShop could stop when students graduate.

“Whenever I was moving out of the dorms I would see people just throw things away,” Reed said. “You might as well try to sell your things to people who are going to need them the year after.”

The site is not yet live as Domzalski is working to build this website by himself. He estimates that it could be operational for Bellarmine and University of Louisville students as early as the fall 2024 semester.


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