The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

Buy/Sell/Trade Group Me for Patio

Bethel University urged students to download Patio, a college messaging app, at the beginning of the academic year. Now, student entrepreneurs are seeing the “Buy/Sell/Trade” chat as a potential advertising platform.

By Talia McWright

Making the change from GroupMe to Patio has been a popular topic on Bethel University’s campus. Some students were frustrated at the task of downloading a new app and others excited about the possibilities of the new platform. The app was adopted in August 2022 as a way to diversify Bethel communication methods. Associate Dean of Campus Engagement Nate Gustafson led the search for the new communications media and oversees engagement across the app. 

“Coming to campus post-pandemic can be really overwhelming, so if I can help people who have shared interests find each other, that removes a significant barrier,” Gustafson said. “That was really the vision behind it.”

 Junior Ava Johnson sits on a chair in Royal Grounds, scrolling on her phone Tuesday evening. Bethel students made the switch from the app GroupMe to Patio in the fall. | Photo by Addie Stern 

Used in campuses across the country, Patio markets itself as a “safe and welcoming private community for colleges.” Gustafson engaged in the task of fitting a campus need, discovering a new way for people with shared interests to connect. He often acts as a facilitator of the app’s group chats and has helped to organize chats by subject interests.

“I know I’ve definitely been the Patio police … which is fine,” Gustafson said. “It’s a role I need to play. The other day someone literally ran by me and said, ‘Hey Patio guy.’” 

Resembling functions similar to other social media platforms, Patio users can create profiles with pictures and bios. Bethel community members can request to follow one another and maybe even swipe right for love. That last part was untrue, but with “Ring by Spring” and Valentines day recently passing, Patio just might be the place to find love, or if nothing else, gently used t-shirts and new friends. 

The app has over 40 group chats, continuously growing as students and community members create chats specific to on-campus organizations, events and opportunities. 

“GroupMe lacked the ability to find each other,” Gustafson said. “We wanted to use the platform as an opportunity for people and groups to find each other.”

One of the more popular chats, with 1,267 members as of Feb. 27, is “Buy/Sell/Trade.” The chat is used by students across campus selling things that minimalist extraordinaire Marie Kondo would approve of, such as unwanted sweaters that no longer spark joy, or freshly-made Kombucha and Samsung flatscreen TVs.

Two students that run their own businesses see the “Buy/Sell/Trade” chat as another opportunity for Bethel students to market their products. 

Senior business and marketing major Mu Ku Shi runs two businesses, Mmarket and MuKuTat. His clothing company Mmarket was created in January 2022. The clothing items reflect his Knyaw heritage, some items with simplified traditional patterns and Shi’s artwork. 

“I like to represent my experiences and where I come from,” Shi said. “I want to inspire others to make something happen that will motivate them to do something better.”

His second business began as a passion for art. Shi began tattooing his friends after getting tattoos of his own. The love for the artform grew, and he began MuKuTat in July 2022. 

Client’s of Shi’s tattoo business MuKuTat show different styles of tattoos given by the artist. | Photo screenshot from Instagram

“Tattooing has always been a part of my life,” Shi said. “In Thailand we tried an experiment using natural remedies with a thorny plant, and we’d take that and use pen ink to poke ourselves, and that was my first ever experiment in the tattoo field.”

Senior electrical engineering major Jireh Babalola launched her clothing company Jireh in 2022. Her pieces represent the Christian faith through pieces featuring Bible verses and the brand name itself, Jireh meaning “The Lord is my provider.”

“My vision for the business is about spreading the word of God to as many people as possible,” Babalola said.

Bethel students pose in a photo for Babalola’s clothing business Jireh. The models wear black and gray loungewear. | Photo screenshot from Instagram

Balancing the busyness of being full-time students and businesspeople, Shi and Babalola plan to continue growing their business post-college. Involving Bethel in the process of expanding their reach, Shi participated in Bethel’s MarketPlace in the Spring of 2022. Babalola has not yet advertised through the MarketPlace, but plans to in the near future. 

As Patio is new to the Bethel community, students like Shi and Babalola are familiarizing themselves with the app, seeing the potential connection points of chats such as Buy/Sell/Trade. 

“I feel like using Patio to reach out to more people about my business would have a positive impact,” Babalola said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Clarion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bethel University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Clarion

Comments (0)

All The Clarion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *