Berry community impacted by ongoing government shutdown

Kelsee Brady, Campus Carrier Staff Writer

On Dec. 22, the United States national government was shut down due to President Donald Trump’s request for funding of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats in the House of Representatives strongly oppose this request, and Trump will not budge. So far, the standoff between Trump and the Democrats has resulted in a 34 day shutdown as of today.

The effect of the shutdown has been widespread. Beyond almost 800,000 government workers working without pay and parts of the government being underfunded, students at Berry have also felt the effects of this massive shutdown.

Senior Lindsey Campbell was invited to join the Peace Corps in Moldova, and fears that her job will not be waiting for her when the government reopens.

“I have been invited to serve in the Peace Corps starting in June of this year, but with the government shutdown, I can’t get any of my paperwork in,” Campbell said. “It’s very hard to make sure I hit all my deadlines.”

The Peace Corps website is one of many government websites that is not being maintained due to lack of government funding. Campbell is anxious for the website and workers to be back.

“It just scares me because I don’t know how long the shutdown is going to last,” Campbell said. “I may be out of a job, it’s something that I really want to do that I got really excited about, and then the shutdown happened. Now, I’m not sure if I’m going to get to do this thing that I’ve really wanted.”

Other parts of Berry are also being impacted by the government shutdown. STEMTeach is a program for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics who are interested in pursuing a career in education. Jill Cochran, associate professor of mathematics, discussed the STEMTeach program’s issues regarding the government shutdown.

“Starting this past summer, we got a grant from the National Science Foundation, NSF, and that grant was for $1.2 million,” Cochran said. “It included a lot of scholarship money, but then also program money to pay the mentors and buy supplies for the activities for the STEMTeach program.”

With upcoming scholarship applications looming, contact with the NSF grant program has been difficult.

“Quite honestly, NSF is shutdown. We can’t contact our program officer there…especially since this is the first year, we have a lot of questions that come up,” said Cochran. “For now, it has only been an inconvenience, but we’re about to start our next round of scholarship applications, it is making me nervous.”

From a financial standpoint, Brian Meehan, assistant professor of economics, said that the shutdown does not have much of an economic impact on Berry.

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