The Bridge – A Rhetorical Analysis of the New “Hangout Spot” on AU’s Campus

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Recently on American University’s campus, a new coffee lounge has opened up, called The Bridge.  It is located in the “glass tunnel” midsection that connects Bender Arena and the Mary Graydon Center.  Although the lounge still has some construction that needs to be completed (right now it is just a lounge.  The actual coffee shop area should be completed within a few months), it is currently open to students, and makes for a new great study spot on the campus that will likely become very popular.

When you first walk in you are greeted with the smell of fresh leather furniture, and a shiny new wooden floor among other things, but what truly makes this appealing to the young men and women of AU?  Well, to begin with this rhetorical analysis, lets look at some pictures.

Natural sunlight.  It doesn’t take a genius to know that students would prefer to sit in an area with plenty of natural light rather than sitting inside of the Starbucks located in the dark tunnel in the center of campus.  In fact, many studies have found that exposure to natural sunlight in a workplace and/or educational setting boosts productivity and overall happiness.  Christopher Bergland wrote a great article on this topic here.

The Bridge is also filled with cool chalkboards such as this one, which will likely be places where students can eventually draw awesome illustrations on.  There’s something that needs to be said about chalkboards and millennials; we just seem to love them.  I would argue that chalkboards are “trendy” and just make a lounge more appealing in a certain way.  They add a “homey” sense to the place, and will help subtly attract more students to The Bridge.

To better show what the layout of The Bridge is like, above is a picture of its main lounge area.  As you can see there is plenty of seating, recess lighting, and large open windows to make The Bridge the best spot on campus to study or even just layback and relax.  And what would make The Bridge more appealing to college students than a record player (pictured below)?

All in all, as seen in the pictures, The Bridge is a very trendy and appealing lounge to be in on AU’s campus.  It combines aspects that are especially appealing to the young students of American University, and will likely be very successful, especially after its construction is complete, and it can serve beverages and snacks.  If you look at major food/beverage chains and how they rhetorically design their establishments, you’ll see that many aspects of the Bridge are similar to those.  For example, McDonalds uses colors such as red, yellow, and orange for their logo and wrapping paper among other things because those colors have been proven to increase appetite.  Meanwhile, Starbucks establishments often have leather seats, dark floors, recess lighting and cozy couch areas with coffee tables.  The Bridge also contains these, making it a place comfortable for many to lounge in.  Here is a great article on marketing/branding trends that establishments use to attract customers and be successful.

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