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Oct 26 STEM Café to explore roots and implications of the ‘Sharing Economy’

October 11, 2016

shared-economyAt the next STEM Café, “Market Morph,” two NIU experts will explore the recent boom in the “sharing economy,” in which businesses help private individuals rent each other’s houses, cars and other assets.

The free, public talk and discussion will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Eduardo’s Mexican Restaurant, 214 E. Lincoln Highway, in DeKalb.

NIU Associate Professor of Marketing Ursula Sullivan has studied the sharing economy by using surveys to figure out the types of goods and services that customers ––millennial customers, especially–– like to share with strangers.

“It’s definitely a growing trend,” Sullivan says. “More and more new businesses are making sharing a core part of their model.”

Sullivan also wants to highlight how the sharing economy, despite making headlines recently thanks to businesses like AirBNB, relies on old, time-tested concepts. “Technology has created a new era for sharing,” she says. “But the basic ideas have been around for a long time. There’s a whole history of people and firms sharing assets to get what they want.”

Sullivan’s co-presenter, NIU College of Busines instructor, Alex Eddy, will focus on how the sharing economy affects society, both positively and negatively. The growing popularity of sharing-based businesses, he says, means all consumers are affected, whether or not they participate directly.

“When large numbers of people in a neighborhood are renting out their houses with AirBNB, that neighborhood changes,” Eddy says. “When Uber moves into a city, that changes the taxi market and possibly impacts public transportation, too.”

“We’ve all read headlines about house-sharing and ride-sharing disrupting the economy,” says STEM Outreach Associate Judith Dymond. “Sullivan and Eddy will go beyond the headlines to tell audience members what they need to know about our changing world.”

Food and drink will be available for purchase from Eduardo’s.

Monthly STEM Cafés are one of many programs offered through NIU STEAM Works, part of the university’s Center for P-20 Engagement. Each Café provides an opportunity to learn about the science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are a part of our everyday lives.

All STEM Cafés are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact Judy Dymond at [email protected] or 779-777-7713.