One of the many things I love about my job as a photographer working for University Communications is that I’m assigned to all types of events, sometimes events that I wouldn’t think to go to myself or that I didn’t even hear about. Some of these events are pleasantly surprising, and I end up not just being a photographer for the event but also being a participant. Earlier this semester, I got an email about a last minute photo opportunity for an event called Glenside Welcomes Arcadia, and it turned out to be one of those pleasantly surprising experiences.
The email from my supervisor promised a scavenger hunt, music, and food in downtown Glenside that night. I headed to the event with a friend to see what it was about. Near the Glenside Train Station, along Glenside Avenue and Easton Road, local shops put balloons outside their doors and hung Arcadia University banners in their windows, welcoming Arcadia students to town for the new school year. Groups of first years and upperclassmen roamed the area popping in at each shop.
All the stores, shops, and restaurants participating in the event always offer Arcadia students a discount with their Knight Card (student ID), but students who stopped in during that evening got a little something extra at each shop. Shop owners and employees welcomed Arcadia students with snacks, free samples, coupons, and raffle tickets to be drawn later that night. As a photographer I was there to capture snapshots of the event, but as an Arcadia student I couldn’t pass up on the freebies.
This is my fourth semester living on campus at Arcadia, so I thought I was familiar with most of the shops in downtown Glenside. I knew of and had eaten at Trevi, an Italian restaurant, whose employees offered us buy-one-get-one-free pizza coupons. But just a few steps further down the street was an array of shops that I had never noticed before.
There was a cute antique store almost hidden under the porch of a house which sold vintage clothing, old children’s books, and of course antiques. As I continued down the street, there was Dreams Ice Cream Factory, which offered us a free scoop of ice cream. And even farther down the street was The Dovetail Artisans, a small store that sells handcrafted pottery, woodwork, and jewelry.
The night ended as students gathered in the parking lot of the train station for live music, a raffle drawing, and more free food. A serendipitous photo assignment turned into a fun night in Glenside. It was refreshing to see so many Arcadia students (myself included) out and about, being welcomed for the first time or becoming reacquainted to Glenside.