See What's UNDerground
University of North Dakota
Want Bruno Mars tickets? How about premium paintball gear? Maybe a bike for a small child? Apparently, UNDerground has it all (including WE Fest tickets, for those of you who were looking).
For the uninitiated, UNDerground is a UND-specific classifieds website similar to craigslist. The program requires a UND login and is therefore assumed to be more secure and trustworthy -- the advantage is someone can’t mislead a buyer or seller about his or her identity (contact information, however, is still open to self-disclosure). In this way, the program starkly contrasts craigslist, which has seen its share of fraudulent and sometimes dangerous interactions.
UNDerground features multiple sections, which are used appropriately. The “free” section is often dominated by a variety of ads for pets being given away and for student jobs. Goods sold on UNDerground, however, are not limited to puppies, event tickets, and old sports gear. Students frequent the site to rental properties and even to search for cars.
“It’s been here since I’ve gotten here in ’08. I looked at five or six or seven different houses through it,” said student Nick Zaccardi. “Connecting with that person is just as easy as viewing at the bottom of the pages [to get] the contact information.”
Similarly, the site has picked up steam for its functional usage of book sales. Resale value on college textbooks is notoriously poor, compared to the price initially paid. As a result, students are often forced to choose between receiving roughly 10 percent of their initial purchase price for resale, or keep the books. UNDerground provides an alternative middle ground that keeps students within the realm of decent resale, while not gouging the purchaser.
Still, Zaccardi has an idea for how to create a system that doesn’t even ask for money.
“I think one thing that UNDerground lacks is a sort of book trade thing. Where ‘I’m looking for this book, you have this book and you’re looking for this book and I have this book.’ Right now, students are willing to pay [the prices] because the books that would regularly cost $200, cost $40.”
Zaccardi does offer some tips to individuals looking at purchasing things on UNDerground, speaking from experience purchasing a car.
“You don’t meet anyone in a private place. Meet someone in public. Find out who they are first. Most people in North Dakota won’t try and treat you unfairly. I started talking to the seller, asking why she was getting rid of the car. I don’t think much is different than with a salesman in a car dealership. I made an offer like I would [there]. You make a low offer and hope that we meet closer to my number than her number.”
As you’re moving into your new residence hall room, apartment, Greek house, or just cruising the web, check out UNDerground to see what you can find.
Boucher, Evan, "See What's UNDerground" (2011). UND News Archive. 140.