GW Student-Athletes Tour White House, Make it Back in Time for Class

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It was an "Only at GW" kind of morning on Tuesday.

A group of about 100 student-athletes, coaches and staff walked the six blocks from the Charles E. Smith Center to the most famous address in the world - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or the White House - for a self-guided tour.

"It was a great learning experience for our student-athletes to see our nation's most storied residence with all of the history and artifacts," said GW Lifeskills coordinator Ted Costigan, who organized the trip with the help of the White House's Office of Public Engagement.

"It was a privilege to be able to tour the White House this morning," said gymnastics head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham. "To be able to walk there from campus and get a behind-the-scenes look at the most famous house in the world is such a unique opportunity that can only be afforded to GW students."

While President Obama did not make an appearance, the group was able to see a number of rooms in the East Wing of the White House, including the East Room, which was the site of the President's press conference following the death of Osama Bin Laden; the Green Room, which once served as Thomas Jefferson's dining room; the Blue Room, which is often used by the President to receive guests; the Red Room, where the First Lady hosts small receptions; and the State Dining Room.

GW women's basketball alumna Jessica Adair was part of one of the most recent groups to eat in the State Dining Room along with her WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx teammates on their visit to the White House.

Secret Service agents were stationed in each room to answer any of the group's questions, and when the tour was over, the student-athletes found themselves on the White House front steps, usually only seen from the other side of the black fence along Pennsylvania Avenue.

"Almost every one of my friends back home in Germany has heard of the White House, but nobody has ever had a chance to see it from the inside," said men's swimming senior Phillip Graeter. "I was so honored to have the opportunity to tour the White House with my fellow student-athletes today. This experience completes my overall experience as a GW student-athlete in one of the most exciting cities in the world."

"It was amazing and humbling to have gone to the White House this morning," said women's soccer senior Molly Bruh. "It was incredible to walk through the same rooms in which such historically great and influential people have lived and interacted. This morning, we had practice at 7 a.m., took a tour of the White House and made it back in time for our first class of the day. Only at GW!"

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