She loves her job: Position combines technology and creativity

Author: Colleen O'Connor

Robyn Pola

Robyn Pola may be the only manager on campus who heads a department of one—herself. Since last summer, Pola has single-handedly run Notre Dame Marketplace.

Established in 2003, Notre Dame Marketplace offers campus groups a secure and cost-effective means of extending their business operations to the Internet, supporting a wide variety of e-commerce needs such as the sale of merchandise, subscriptions, event registrations and donations.

Merchants can choose between two service options, a full-service e-commerce platform (uStore) or secure payment pages only (uPay). Both are supported by Touchnet, which supplies the software, hosts the system and assumes all compliance liability. Currently, all payments are made by credit card, but the system is expected to have ACH (Automatic Clearing House) capability by the end of this calendar year.

A 2003 Purdue graduate who majored in computer graphics technology with interactive multimedia design as a specialty, Pola feels she is in the right job at the right time. “I like that I am using my degree,” she says.

In creating a uStore for a campus group, Pola designs a storefront to match the department’s website and then links the two. She works with merchants to create their products, craft their return policy and customize email response messages.

Additionally, she provides training on how to create new products, fulfill orders and reconcile Touchnet accounts with departmental budgets, all with the goal of assisting them in becoming self-sufficient. “I like that I work with all areas of campus,” says Pola, noting that more and more groups on campus are getting involved in e-commerce.

Notre Dame Marketplace has seen significant growth with more than $5.5 million in sales this year, making this the best year in its nine-year history. The number of online storefronts has grown from the original three—St. Michael’s Laundry, the Student Shop and the Computer Store—to 53, with 16 uPays and 37 uStores. The newest merchant is University Bands. Two of the most active stores remain Domer Dollars and RecSports. All purchases made through Notre Dame Marketplace support the University and its mission.

The Marketplace is available 24 hours a day at Office hours at 427 Grace Hall are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.