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      Inside the White House

      Widener Faculty and Students Get Private Tour of White House From Alumnus

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      White House

      Twenty students and faculty visit the White House as part of a shared political engagement and sustainability trip on Feb. 15.

      As part of a shared political engagement and sustainability trip, Widener University students and faculty went on a private tour of the White House led by David Almacy, a 1992 Widener graduate who served under former President George W. Bush.

      The Feb. 15 tour of the White House, as well as a meeting later that day with the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute in Washington, D.C., was a unique experience for the 16 students in CHEM 120 and SSCI 288 and four faculty – Associate Professors Angela Corbo, Andrea Martin and J. Wesley Leckrone and Professor Loyd Bastin.

      "I've always wanted to visit the White House, but I never knew how to go about arranging a visit," said Alec Lynch, a junior communication studies major. "It was interesting to be in the East Wing and see the portraits of the past presidents and first ladies, and then to see the rooms that I've only seen in pictures or in video of press conferences. I was able to see the history there."

      To tour the White House, members of the public are normally required to submit a request through their member of Congress months in advance of the trip. However, the Widener students and faculty received a private tour arranged in only a few weeks by Almacy, who graduated from Widener with a bachelor of science in business management/marketing.

      Almacy was the White House internet and e-communications director under Bush and led the administration through a time of significant changes on the web. He launched a complete site redesign and implemented new multimedia communication technology in the White House.

      One of the most memorable projects he coordinated was the "Barney Cam," where the First Dog of the United States provided the annual holiday tour of the East Wing.

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      David Almacy

      David Almacy, a 1992 Widener graduate who served under former President George W. Bush, leads students and faculty on a tour of the White House.

      Today, Almacy is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and is founder of CapitalGig, which helps clients understand evolving communications, integrate emerging media platforms and effectively increase engagement in government, politics, issue advocacy and corporate brand reputation. He is a member of the Communication Studies Advisory Board at Widener and has been a consistent supporter of the university.

      Lynch said he and his classmates appreciate Almacy sharing both knowledge of the field and interesting facts about the White House's history.

      "I really enjoyed it, especially getting a tour of the White House from not only an alumnus, but from someone who worked in the White House," Lynch said. "We got to hear the history and details they might not tell you on a public tour."

      Corbo, an associate professor of communication studies, said the group appreciated the Arts and Sciences Sustainability and Civic Engagement Pathway Faculty Learning Network and Student Affairs for funding the trip as an Urban Excursion.

      Following the tour, the students headed to the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute for a discussion on sustainability and advocacy programs.

      Corbo said the visit was a research cornerstone for the two classes as the students prepare lobbying efforts for the semester.

      Bastin, a professor of chemistry, added, "We wanted the students to learn how a national organization representing over 150,000 chemists works to educate and aid chemists to incorporate sustainable thinking into education materials and industrial processes. The students heard about educational materials, conferences, and industrial round tables that are sponsored by the Green Chemistry Institute to promote the teaching of green chemistry and to facilitate conversations about incorporating green chemistry into product development."

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