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Youth connects on online board

Lost and found, buying and selling, fests and feasts — a virtual notice board connects students across the country, reports Manoj Sharma.
By Manoj Sharma | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON FEB 16, 2008 11:46 PM IST

Not all the writing is on the wall, some of it is also on the notice board. Summer jobs wanted, tuitions available, second-hand laptop for sale, brand new mobile phone lost and found — the college noticeboard is quite the silent chronicler of the life of the student community. But at a time when hundreds of youngsters cross over to the virtual world every day, the notice board is at best a blink-and-you-miss item. And cashing in on this virtual defection is online notice board searchmycampus.com.

Brainchild of Peyush Bansal, 23, the site was launched last December and has found earnest following among students who are using it to exchange information on everything from accommodation, to car pools, to buying and selling books, bikes, notes, furniture, mobiles..

The genesis of searchmycampus.com lies in Bansal’s experiences at a Canadian university where, he says, he virtually lived on streets, with no clue about accommodation. “I went to McGill University in Montreal at 18, against my parents’ wishes. I faced a lot hassles in settling down in the campus. So, when I retuned to India I decided to create this online campus board that would provide students a platform. I believe that only students can solve the problems of other students.”

By way of homework, after returning to India in October 2007, Bansal spent a lot of time traveling, meeting college students all over the country to understand their problems. Co-founder of the site and student of Indraprastha University, Delhi, Parit Gupta, 21, also helped him. Chetna, a student of Sri Ram College of Commerce, points out that besides not having time enough to look up the college notice board there is also the problem of “torn notices.” She has recently put an ad on searchmycampus with a request that someone lend her a copy of Eric Seghal’s Love Story.

Kanika Saraff, a first year Economics student of Hindu college, also posted an ad seeking a summer job and was pleasantly surprised when she got a good response. She says, “Most outstation students like me do not know whom to approach for various things such as a good accommodation or summer jobs. This campus board will fill this gap.”

Besides facilitating intra-college communication, the website also promises to create better inter-college communication channels. Take the case of aspiring musician Romi of Delhi University, who wants to form a band. ‘I am a lead singer looking forward to establish a band, but not able to find good guitarists and drummers. Anyone interested may contact me’, says Romi’s post.

Ankit Khirwal is one of many DU students who are actively promoting the online campus notice board. He says, “I spend a lot of time tracking down all important notices on campus boards in various colleges and post them here. I believe there is so much that students can do for each other through this website.”

Apart from Delhi, the site is getting popular in campuses in other cities such as Bangalore, where students are also offering lots of gadgets such as, iPods, Laptops, Handsfree, DVDs with pictures of the stuff they are seeking to sell, their price and a note of on their condition. “The student-oriented online campus is quite innovative. Students from all over the country can post their queries on the site; it has the potential to replace the college notice board in the future,” says Tosha Koshi , who is doing her masters from Christ College, Bangalore.

Bansal says he wishes to bring together the community of 11 million college going students in the country under the umbrella of SearchMyCampus. He says, “This may not be as cool as various social networking sites, but it will surely be highly useful. Now I want to create a category where students can share their emotional problems too, campus life is all about sharing and caring for each other.”

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