On Oct. 1, the United States government shut down for the first time in 17 years. The shutdown happened because it was the end of the fiscal year and the House and the Senate were not able to pass a budget for the next fiscal year. The decision has affected everyone in America by one way or another. National parks are closed, government websites have gone down, and people are out of work.
Several Maryville College Students are among many people that have been personally impacted through family members or personal experiences.
Catherine Hatfield is a junior from Washington D.C. Her father works for the U.S. government in the Department of Defense, and was out of work for a week at the beginning of October. Right now, he has been able to return to work, but without compensation. Thankfully, according to The Washington Post, Oct. 5, the House passed legislation that will ensure about 800,000 furloughed federal employees with back pay.
Hatfield said the worst part about the shutdown is all the talk. She said that everyone is talking about who is to blame or how to work with limited resources. It is tiring to get on the Internet and the only thing to read about the government shutdown.
“I hope the government pulls itself together soon because there is so much more at stake here than just finances,” Hatfield said. “Families, culture, tourism and even our worldwide reputation could be lost in this crisis.”
Brad Hampton is experiencing a similar situation to Hatfield’s. He is a sophomore from Florida, and his mom is a furloughed government employee. His family was also able to take a trip up to Maryville this past weekend to visit Brad in her time off.
However, the shutdown has done more for Brad’s family than reunite them for a weekend. Since his mom has been without pay she has had to cut her spending, and delay repairing parts of their home. Hampton has been forced to give up his car because they need it. More importantly, he has had to pay for school completely on his own since the threat of a possible government shutdown.
“My family is adapting to our current situation, and I hope our country can compromise to end the shutdown, so my family can find financial stability and peace of mind,” Hampton said.
Along with this, the one thing that Hampton said he can be thankfully for is that he actually has a job.
On a more humorous side of the shutdown, a group of students, Alex Carr, Stevie Gleason, Emily Ries and Jackie Fowler found themselves locked in while visiting Look Rock because of the closing of National Parks. The four didn’t realize that the same day that they wanted to go on a hike was also the same day the government shut down.
Going in to the park, the gate was open, but upon leaving they found themselves on the wrong side of a closed gate. Eventually, an older couple came to their rescue with the park ranger’s phone number. Once they got in touch with the rangers, they still had to wait about an hour for them to get there from Gatlinburg to unlock the gate.
“It was a funny, once in a life time experience,” Carr said. “Not many people can say they were locked inside a national park.”
All of these students are living proof that the government shutdown is more than just a politician’s problem. The repercussions it brings can be found here on Maryville College campus.