Student Launches 'UA Craigslist'

Computer science major Alec Kretch has rolled out a new app aimed at UA students who are looking to buy or sell things — or even find a tutor or a job.
Nov. 2, 2015
Alec Kretch at Monday's launch of Unilist on the UA Mall
Alec Kretch at Monday's launch of Unilist on the UA Mall

Anyone familiar with the marketplace site Craigslist knows its pitfalls of distance and danger. Buyers and sellers are scattered all over the place, and you can't be sure who you're dealing with. It can be both a hassle and a crapshoot.

That never seemed sufficient for Alec Kretch, a University of Arizona junior who is majoring in computer science. In March, Kretch began working on an app that is "for the U of A and by the U of A," a hyperlocal tool for students who are looking to buy or sell things, find a tutor, negotiate subleases on apartments, even scout for jobs.

The product of his travails, Unilist, which uses a stylized unicycle as its logo, launched today and is available for free under "Unilist Campus Marketplace" in the iTunes AppStore.

"I believe in the power of mobile technology," Kretch says. "It's a powerful tool to have at your fingertips. My focus isn't on monetizing this. It's something I believe in — connecting people. It's been in my head since I came to the UA."

Kretch says a UA email address is required in order to create a Unilist account, and that tells you all about the audience he's aiming for. He says UA students haven't had their own place to buy and sell clothing, tech products, furniture and textbooks. Already he has attracted campus-area businesses such as Pizza Studio and Gentle Ben's to offer specials via the app, and there's even a lost-and-found category.

"My goal is to connect students with each other and with the local community," Kretch says. "This has been a big hole in the marketplace."

Kretch, who is a senator for Associated Students of the University of Arizona, or ASUA, says the app has been fully tested. His slogan is "Connecting the U of A community, one listing at a time."

"This will serve as a mobile campus communication platform," he says. "I've been describing it as 'Craigslist for the UA.'"