Meet the sophomores behind the Instagram-account-turned-business ‘A Subway Series of Pics’
Two students are on a journey to eat at every Subway in D.C.
“You’ve been hungry past 9 p.m. And what do you do?” sophomore Frank Piscani asked.
His business partner, sophomore Will Goldman, was quick to jump in: “You go down to that gleaming yellow and green light … It’s being that father-figure and feeding all of us. That’s what Subway is on this campus.”
Piscani and Goldman run the Instagram account-turned-business “A Subway Series of Pics,” or ASSOP. The two friends started the account last year as a joke, but it has now turned into a serious venture for the two AU students.
“We thought it was ironic that there was a Subway on campus and then one in Tenleytown,” Piscani said. “We came up with this idea to go to every Subway in the D.C. area.”
There are 76 Subways in the District, and, as of Nov. 8, the pair has gone to 41 of them, traveling across the District’s wards on adventures they call “Sub-runs.” The first post on their Instagram is from Oct. 1, 2017, featuring AU’s Subway location. Since then, the page has gained over 400 followers. Goldman said that the page’s 69th follower was Subway’s official account.
“That was our initial goal, to get Subway to follow us,” Goldman said, “but that happened pretty quickly.”
The two students have become walking brand representatives for Subway. During their interview with The Eagle, they wore matching uniforms: a black Subway visor and a forest green polo with “Subway” stitched on the left-side over their hearts. The pair sells their own Subway merchandise, consisting of Redbubble stickers with clever phrases such as “Subwonk.”
Goldman and Piscani both wanted to get more involved in the D.C. community, and they said their Instagram page has allowed them to interact with people and communities beyond Tenleytown.
The University puts an emphasis on “D.C. immersion,” Goldman said, “seeing the city and interacting with different types of people, places,” and that’s what their Instagram account has allowed them to do.
“I don’t think a lot of people have seen the city in the way that we have,” Piscani said.
Since the Instagram page has grown beyond the Tenleytown-AU Metro stop, Piscani and Goldman have crafted their page into an active participant in AU and D.C. college culture rather than simply a comedy page.
“We really view ourselves as a community organization,” Piscani said. ASSOP has started reaching out to other schools in the District to integrate students into a “D.C. family,” Goldman said.
Within the AU community, Piscani and Goldman have been coordinating city outings, such as bringing a group of students to a Washington Nationals game. In one instance, Goldman said he asked University President Sylvia Burwell, “What are Saturdays for?” She responded: “Saturdays are for the Subs.”
In a way, the campus has rallied around the Instagram page through continued support, Piscani said.
“At a school like AU where there’s so much emphasis on networking and crafting your own experiences, we want to include other students in the ASSOP family,” Goldman said. “When we do our outings, we can have people from AU or GW or UDC.”
ASSOP has also started an initiative called “ASSOP Spotlight.” Goldman and Piscani want to partner with other on-campus organizations, students or other members of the D.C. community to promote their activities and efforts.
“We want to support our community,” Piscani said. “There are a lot of impressive people doing a lot of impressive things, and we should highlight that.”
For Goldman and Piscani, the idea of empowering and spotlighting others is summed up by the word “SubLove.” The term was originally used by Subway, but ASSOP has adopted it as their “mantra,” Piscani said.
“SubLove” is about creating a community regardless of differences between people, Piscani said. To the two organizers, it all comes down to every AU student’s familiar sensation of late-night hunger -- a feeling that can only be resolved with Subway.
“‘SubLove’ is what makes ... our community active,” Goldman said. “We can ignore our differences.”
This article originally appeared in The Eagle's November 2018 fall print edition.