Visiting the White House: Ten Years Later

The White House South Court Auditorium

Exactly one week ago, a native New Yorker who’s resided in the Washington, D.C. metro area since 2002 took her first official trip to the White House.

Yes. I’ve lived no more than eight miles from 1600 Pennsylvania for the past ten years, and have even done numerous marathon training runs past the building, but had never actually been inside its marbled and columned walls until now.

Luckily, this was no ordinary visit. Thanks to the amazing work of Kori Schulman, I joined over a hundred lucky other attendees from across the country for the 2011 White House Holiday Tweetup.

In addition to the fabulous photos I snapped of the tweetup event and the White House Holiday Tour, here are the top five things I learned from the White House senior staffers who gave us a very engaging presentation and thoughtful discussion:

  1. The lovely illustrations in the White House 2011 Holiday Guide Book were created by students of Washington, D.C.’s Corcoran College of Art & Design. This school is actually located across the street from the White House and 2011 marks the second year Corcoran students have undertaken this project. 
  2. The White House online engagement and petition initiative – “We The People” – has had thirty petitions receive an official White House review and response. To attain this great distinction, a petition has to receive 25,000 signatures of support within thirty days of its creation. 
  3. According to White House Pastry Chef, Bill Yosses, President Obama’s favorite dessert is pie. So much so, that the President has nicknamed Yosses the “crust master” due to his astounding penchant for making the pie-filling accompaniment ever-so perfectly flaky and tasty.
  4. If you don’t plan to be bogged down with your own holiday planning next year and have a desire to help decorate the most famous house in the world, mark your calendar to apply for the White House Holiday Volunteers Program in March 2012. Information will be available on whitehouse.gov by that time and can also be accessed by calling the White House Office of Engagement. Volunteers are selected in September and October. I’m sure Michelle and Barack would love your assistance. 
  5. If you have a Twitter account and haven’t done so already, follow: Macon PhillipsJon Carson, Aneesh Chopra, and Joining Forces. You’re guaranteed to learn much more about the work of President Obama, Mrs. Obama and the White House’s four hundred employees if you do so today.