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FMCC tours Philadelphia

Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Wall Street Club, in conjunction with the College’s BizHub Club, sponsored their fourth annual bus trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this spring.

The walking tour, led by professors Frank Yunker and Larry Zuckerman, was centered on the old colonial section of town. The tour began in Congress Hall, which is next to Independence Hall, where students actually stepped into the place that our nation’s first House of Representatives originally met. In this very room, George Washington watched John Adams take the oath of office, marking the first time in history that a country so large witnessed the peaceful transfer of power from one elected leader to another.

The Senate met on the second floor and during the 10 years the building was in use, the terms “Upper Chamber” and “Lower Chamber” were coined to describe the two political bodies.

One additional treat for the students was the visit to the Second National Bank. This year, the portrait gallery was open and the group had the chance to see portraits of many of the founding fathers and colonial leaders.

The tour continued on to Carpenter’s Hall, where the first Continental Congress met in 1774.

From there, the group headed toward the U.S. Mint, but not before a stop where Benjamin Franklin’s house once stood. All that remains now is portions of the foundation; therefore, the Franklin Museum actually erected a “ghost house” that outlines the size of the original structure.

Students also visited Ben Franklin’s grave which is covered with pennies. Of course, old Ben made famous the phrase, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

At the U.S. Mint, students learned about the process of how metal alloy blanks are turned into the genuine circulating coins we use every day.

Compared to past years, it was easy to see that the conveyor belts carrying newly-minted coins were not as active. A quick Google search revealed that the U.S. government has been reducing coin production in the past couple of years; indeed, digital money is beginning to replace physical currency and the U.S. Mint offers firsthand proof of that.

Lastly, the students broke into two tours.

Prof. Zuckerman led many students to see the Liberty Bell.

Prof. Yunker led a smaller group to tour the National Museum of American Jewish History. Due to a grant from the late Conductor Leonard Bernstein’s foundation, the museum offers free admission on Friday afternoons through the spring and summer seasons; everyone who toured the museum got a bargain.

In addition to political, cultural, and monetary history, several students saw current economic policy in action.

The “free refills” at one pizza establishment now cost 50 cents due to the 2017 Beverage Tax in the city of Philadelphia. Customers are taxed 1.5 cents per ounce of soda. We all know that the last time something like that happened, a lot of tea got dumped into Boston Harbor.

The Wall Street Club and Biz Hub Club are just two of over 35 clubs on-campus, each with unique offerings.

To learn more about enrolling at FM and the various clubs, contact the Admissions Office; text (518) 620-2461, call (518) 736-FMCC (3622), Ext. 8301, or visit fmcc.edu.

Frank Yunker is a professor of computer science and Laurence Zuckerman is an associate professor of accounting.