FlashBay raises funds

Theresa Montgomery

Browse and bid on Kent State’s FlashBay – you can find everything from vouchers to hear the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center to a month of unlimited tanning – all for a good cause.

FlashBay is a home-grown Web site at http://flashbay.kent.edu, created as part of the annual campus-wide fund-raising campaign to benefit the United Way of Portage County. The online auction site is open for bidding for only one month, said Barb Boltz, director of Information Services.

“The idea of having an eBay kind of auction began three years ago, because the chair (of Kent State’s United Way drive) was the vice president of Information Services, Don Tolliver,” Boltz said. “He had the resources to put on the project.” Tolliver has since retired.

One of those resources was the creativity of the site’s developer Jason Wearley, senior systems analyst and programmer for Information Services.

Since its first year, FlashBay has grown and is now accessible to anyone.

“In the first year, we restricted it to Kent State users,” Wearley said. “You had to use your Kent I.D. and password. Last year, we opened it up to anyone with an Internet account.”

Wearley designed the site so people can browse through the donations available on FlashBay before registering as a user. Information entered on FlashBay is saved in an encrypted format for security purposes, Wearley said.

FlashBay collected more than $2,300 last year and is already halfway to that amount this year, she said.

The pool of those who donate items for auction on FlashBay has grown along with that of it users, Boltz said.

“Originally, we asked the university and local merchants,” she said. “It’s just kind of evolved.”

“Some are from attractions in the area – for example, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some of them are by faculty and staff at the university. The gourmet dinner for two are two chefs on campus,” she said.

“We suggest people browse the auction,” Boltz said. “When we close the auction, we close the site.”

The site will close this year when bidding ends on Dec. 5.

Contact College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Theresa Montgomery at [email protected].