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Commercialism is something that surrounds our daily lives and makes noticeable day by day. Whether it’s on television, radio, internet, or billboards, countless numbers of corporations try to sell themselves to the rest of the world. A good example of this can be seen on the campus of the University of Arizona. Walking up and down the mall, one would notice the many tents set up on the lawn trying to sell their products or services to thousands of students who attend the school.

The introduction to Croissant’s essay, “Can This Campus be Bought? Commercial Influence in Unfamiliar Places,” states that the essay first appeared in an issue of Academe, which is published by the American Association of University Professors. Throughout the essay, the author frequently refers to “we”, meaning the professors. “We need to think critically about the way our relationships with venders and benefactors affect students and the university image” (Croissant, 1). Although the author originally intended this essay to be directed toward professors and faculty, this essay was later published in the University Book, which is the collection of text meant to be read by English 10 students. This shows that text does address certain points that may pertain to students as well as faculty. The introduction also stated that the essay was published in 001. This proves that the issues that the author addresses are very recent issues that face the university.

When we think of a professor, we picture a very well educated individual with a great sense of knowledge. Also, we picture a professor to be a part of the older generation, between the ages of 5 to 60. With this notion in mind, it appears that the author has a specific audience she is addressing. The author is able to relate closely with her audience, because they are all at the same level and are able to see eye to eye on the same issues.

In this essay, it is clear that Croissant simply wants others to be aware of the issue of commercialization and its overwhelming effects on the universities. By writing this, it may be assumed that she hopes for certain actions to be taken place before commercialism completely takes over the school. “But complete connection, especially through identification with corporate benefactors, erodes ideas about objectivity that are important to maintaining the legitimacy of universities as sites for unfettered, and reliable, inquiry” (Croissant, 7). By stating this, her colleagues will realize the importance of this issue and proceed to take meaningful actions to ensure that the ethics of the university don’t fall apart. As a professor herself, the author feels very strongly about the effects of corporate ties on the university due to the fact that she encounters it nearly every day.

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In order to get her message across to the reader, the author uses several different strategies such as familiarity of the subject, word choice, compare/contrast, and by treating her readers equally, in order to get their attention. Being a professor at the University of Arizona, she is able to see first hand, the effects of commercialism on the university, and therefore, become familiar with the subject she is addressing. “Much of the research in this area, including my own, has focused on the connections among commercial activities, values, and research” (Croissant, 1). This shows that the author has spent a great deal of time studying how commercialism ties in with the university system. If Croissant were not a professor, a reader may think that she has no justification behind her argument since she wouldn’t have any connections to the university.

When it comes to writing any kind of a text, word choice is often the most effective tool in getting a readers attention. In this essay, Croissant does an excellent job of selecting words that create a visual image of how commercialism is making itself noticeable around the campus. “…the mall, is perpetually covered with touring sideshows from Ford, Esprit, and Pepsi, as well as from craft vendors and credit-card hawkers” (Croissant, ). This particular statement creates a visual reality for the reader and shows them exactly what is going on around the campus by mentioning specific companies. The author uses the word “hawkers” rather that words like dealers, or salesman to show how vendors literally push students into doing business with them.

Croissant also uses the compare/contrast technique to illustrate her point. She does this by comparing the benefits and downfalls of corporate ties with the university. On one hand, she says that it is a benefit to having connections to sources outside of the school because they become “the makers of successful campus ventures, whether in research, teaching, or service” (Croissant, 6). On the other hand, the author believes that the university is becoming way too dependent on “corporate finances” (Croissant, 6). This is a very effective strategy because the author is able to present both sides of the situation to the reader without showing any apparent sympathy to one particular side, while still maintaining her argument. She also chooses specific examples that would make the subject of commercialism become more noticeable to the reader as a negative aspect rather than a positive one. By doing this, the reader will be able to see the issue through the same perspective as Croissant.

Another way the author gets the reader to take the same stand as her on the issue of commercialism is by treating the reader equally. In other words, Croissant puts herself on the same level as her audience. By doing this, the reader feels as though they have a strong connection with Croissant and are able to see things in the same light as her. She does this by referring to the reader as “we”. “When it becomes clear that we are indeed ‘Nike-Pepsi U,’ it will be obvious, at least to me, that we have moved too far along the autonomy-connection continuum” (Croissant, 7). This expresses a feeling of unity between Croissant and the audience of professors and faculty that she is addressing. The reader will realize that actions must be taken as a group and not just by one individual. This also makes it seem as though the author is speaking on behalf of all the other professors, rather than just herself. Since the essay was originally meant to be read by other professors, the intended reader will agree with her since they believe she represents others on the same level.

After examining several of the strategies that Jennifer Croissant uses in this essay, it would appear that she proved to be quite successful in appealing to her initial audience. She finds a way to reach out to her audience as a friend and colleague rather than just another professor talking about the imperfections of the university system. As far as convincing other audiences, such as students, of her argument, the essay is not as effective in getting the message across simply because she doesn’t relate to them in a manner that they are accustomed to. Overall, I believe that most professors would agree with Croissant after reading her essay.

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