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Ricardo and Joanne Hoar take a break from web design to enjoy the sunshine.
the Gauntlet

One site to rule them all

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A pair of former University of Calgary computer science students are pouring their computer skills and their U of C experience into an innovative new web resource for students.

My-U.ca is the brainchild of Ricardo and Joanne Hoar and offers students a number of free services, including textbook and roommate postings, blog space, campus bus information, an interactive U of C map and more. The couple saw the need for a single on-line resource to collect existing services in one all-purpose site.

"We're trying to bring it all together and present it in a more useful way," said Joanne, 26, noting sites like the Calgary Transit web page are cumbersome and not tailored to campus transit routes or student needs.

After a free registration process, students are able to post textbooks for sale, hunt for roommates or sell anything from computers to class notes, said Ricardo, 25. But unlike traditional bulletin boards which require students to leave personal e-mail addresses or phone numbers posted in public, the My-U.ca service is set up anonymously with potential buyers' messages forwarded through the site to sellers.

"As a woman, I realized you don't really want to post your phone number on every bulletin board around campus," said Joanne. "So this is a way to feel more secure."

Frosh students will find the site's interactive map helpful, said Ricardo. Based on a digital model of campus Ricardo made for his masters thesis, the My-U.ca map lets students scroll through a list of campus buildings and highlights their destination in red.

Ricardo hopes the site can help fight student apathy on campus, giving students a forum to speak.

"It's for students," he said. "They can make it be anything they want."

My-U.ca was launched Tue., Aug. 2 and already boasts over 120 members.

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