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CAMPUS PHILLY: An Editor Who Finds Time to Get Lost in the City

Editor’s note: This is the first of a monthly series of profiles of high-achieving students who are engaged with the city and region in impactful ways, made possible through a partnership with Campus Philly.

It was a class while in London last spring through a study abroad program at Temple University that helped Zach Thornbury, the new editor for the reporting team over at Campus Philly, see Philadelphia differently.

Studying "Travel Writing" in a mostly non-classroom setting, Thornbury got a chance to see first-hand how some of the most important lessons we learn can come by exploring the world around you.

"This is one of the most important lessons that I have brought back with me to Philadelphia, learn from the city around you," he says.

Thornbury and his reporting team are doing just that and sharing it with other Philly area students, young professionals, and high schoolers shopping for a college in Greater Philadelphia. Check out their work here, and check out what Zach has learned about Philly below.

School: Temple University
Major: Advertising (Minor: English)
Age & class: 21, Senior
Hometown/high school: Born in West Palm Beach, Fla., but moved to Philadelphia when I was 5. Went to Roman Catholic High School for Boys.
Jobs/clubs/extra-curriculars: Editor-in-Chief at Campus Philly, Study Abroad Advisor in the School of Communications & Theater at Temple University, member of the Temple Advertising Club (TAC).

Flying Kite (FK): When was the last time you got lost in Philly?
Zach Thornbury (ZT): Well first I have to ask, on purpose or by accident? I grew up 10 minutes out of center city in Fishtown, so for the most part I had my head wrapped around the immediate urban area of Philadelphia. However, this doesn’t mean that there are still places in Philadelphia that surprise me on a daily basis.

The last time I got lost by accident in Philly was this past winter break in Manayunk. I had never ventured to this part of Philadelphia, it being on almost the opposite side of the city from my neighborhood. With all of my friends moving there, however, it being the college hot-spot, I decided to take my first visit. The hills did me no help, and before I knew it I was wondering around without a clue to where my friends house was.

The last time I got lost on purpose was along the Wissahickon trail. I mean, it’s hard not to want to. Having the "wilderness" so close to a cities center is a great way to relax and enjoy the nature side of the city.

FK: Favorite annual event in Philly?
ZT: My favorite annual event in Philadelphia would have to be Campus Philly’s College Day. I know I know, it seems staged to say because I work there, but believe it or not, College Day was one of the contributing factors that lead me to seek out a job at Campus Philly. When I was a scared little freshman way back when, College Day got me to leave Temple’s campus and do the unthinkable, make new friends. I know, groundbreaking!

But in all honesty, time after time, College Day allowed me to explore my city with a group of people that had the same objectives. The free concerts were amazing, and the museums too. Being on the other side of the event now, helping to plan College Day just attests to the fact that College Day is made by students for students, in other words, we know exactly what college students will want to see. Knowing the values behind College Day, getting students to explore their city, only heightens the event in my eyes.

FK: What's one thing about your school that only people who go there know?
ZT: The one thing about Temple that only Temple students know would most likely have to be the fact that if you ever find yourself bored on campus, which is already hard to do living only a five-minute subway ride from Center City, you can always quickly locate yourself to the Bell Tower. Whether it’s free food, makeshift snowboarding and skate parks, contests, hookah circles, or even local organizations shouting out for a cause, a show is definitely ready to be seen in that square.

FK: Most rewarding job/internship you've had in Philadelphia and why?
ZT: The most rewarding internship that I’ve had as a college student in Philadelphia is hands down Campus Philly. This is the first internship that I’ve held thus far that has truly allowed me to employ both the lessons that I’ve learned both in and out of the classroom. This internship is not one of those that are so often offered where the interns really do not have much say in the office. This position wants to hear my voice, and actually employs the ideas that come from it.

I’ve never found my opinion not heard. More so, this internship is allowing me to actually jump in head first into the professional setting. Not only am I working on projects that I see immediately coming to fruition, but I’m working on more so that are furthering my networking in the city. My name is beginning to be recognized largely impart to the amazing position that Campus Philly itself holds.

FK: Will you stay here after graduation?
ZT: I often ask myself this very same question. A semester of my junior year in college was spent abroad in London. Of course this will always hold a place in my heart. It altered my concepts of the world immediately after moving out of my comfort zone into exploring what else was out there to offer. I lived, went to school, and worked in a foreign country. Of course this is an opportunity that I would strive to get once again.

However, returning back to Philly, my home, allowed me to employ the lessons I learned abroad into understanding and bettering my city. I would love the opportunity to remain in Philadelphia, bringing it one more rung up on the ladder to the global front. Philly definitely has the culture, business, and community scenes that I would look for in a permanent residence.

FK: How has Philly surprised you?
ZT: Philly surprises me often with its ability to remain a major competitor on the global scale while still maintaining its smaller hometown appeal. It seems that once in a network here, you know everyone and anyone inside it. However, don’t be fooled; this in no way limits your potential to grow. Philadelphia connections exist all around the globe, connecting you to valuable assets no matter where you seek them out. By being able to call myself a Philadelphia native, I know the title is accompanied by an invaluable source of networks that will always be within reach looking towards the future because of the connections I make here now.

CAMPUS PHILLY is a nonprofit organization that fuels economic growth by encouraging college students to study, explore, live and work in the Greater Philadelphia tri-state region. Follow Campus Philly on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare
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