Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 20, 2001

U of G students helping take stress out of co-op house hunting

Two University of Guelph students think they have come up with a way to make life a little easier for Canada’s 71,000 university co-op students.

Fourth-year computer science students Russell Gordon and Amy Moore have designed an Internet-based housing board intended to help co-op students find suitable housing anywhere in Canada. Gordon and Moore will see their two-semester project launched publicly March 21 on National Co-Op Day. Hands-on demonstrations in the University Centre courtyard during the afternoon will be followed at 4:30 p.m. by a reception in the Whippletree hosted by Co-operative Education Services (CES). Media are invited to attend.

U of G’s Society of Co-op Students (SOCS) will hold the Guelph licence for the housing board and market the concept with student groups across Canada. The software will be given free to all university housing offices and student groups that join the system.There should be a stampede of universities wanting to participate, said Prof. Deborah Stacey, Computing and Information Science (CIS), who has served as faculty adviser to the student developers. There’s no reason why this couldn’t be a commercial product,” she said. “It is technically a very sophisticated system that addresses a real need in our society and fills a niche that other facilities don’t cater to.”

The housing board will allow landlords across the country to post multiple listings — with photographs — free of charge and to remove or change the listings easily. Students will use a “shopping-cart” feature to conduct a detailed search of available housing and store listings of interest, and a “map-it” feature will provide links to an online map of the area. If no listings are found in a particular city, student users can also request information anonymously from other students registered on the system who may be able to offer advice about housing in that location.

Contact: Prof. Deb Stacey, Department of Computing and Information Science (519) 824-4120, Ext. 2651

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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