By Katie Schmitz, News Editor
After Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell brokered a bipartisan deal last Thursday normalcy was finally returned to the United States federal government as Congress approved a bill to re-open. The government was shut down for about 16 days, during which 800,000 federal workers found themselves temporarily unemployed, while one million others went to work not knowing when their next paycheck would come.
Kalamazoo College was also affected by the shutdown of the government. One student organization that was especially inconvenienced by the shutdown was the Kalamazoo Outing Club (KOC).
The KOC planned to go on an overnight trip from Oct. 12-13 to the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area in Ludington, MI.
“We were going to hike, explore the dunes, and enjoy Lake Michigan,” said Margot Couraud ’16, who is an Executive Board member of the KOC, and planned this particular trip.
Due to the shutdown, federally regulated state parks such as the Nordhouse Dunes were closed to the public. “We found out that we wouldn’t be able to go once I called and double-checked that the Nordhouse Dunes were in fact federally-regulated, and therefore were closed,” said Couraud.
The KOC had to change their plans and instead visited the Ludington State Park, which is not federally regulated.
“It was a great weekend despite the rain, and everyone enjoyed themselves.” Couraud concluded.
Troubles with the government and the KOC did not end there, however, and the office was also affected. Jory Horner, Staff Advisor for the KOC, also felt repercussions.
“We are currently planning to offer a new end-of-year trip in June to the Upper Peninsula that will be open to the whole campus,” said Horner. “We had planned to do some scouting and research for that trip last week but we had to cancel it because the parks and areas we needed to see were all closed, and the informational websites that we would normally use to help plan were all down, as well.”
The discontinuation of government websites has been a problem for other members of the campus, as well. Last week, Ogden Wright ’16 was referencing a website containing career opportunities provided by the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD). Instead, he was met with a blank screen conveying the message that the website was unavailable due to the government shutdown.
“It was surprising, I had no idea the government shutdown would extend to that area of my life,” said Wright.
The life of Georgina Graff ‘16 was severely affected by the shutdown. Graff’s mother has worked as a head Epidemiologist in Wisconsin for the US Department of Agriculture for about 10 years and has been furloughed since October 1.
“When the government re-opens she will have her job back,” Graff explained, “but there will be a lot of clean up and book keeping before they really get into the swing of things again. She may or may not be reimbursed for the sum she was furloughed.”
The government re-opened on Oct. 17, and since then, most furloughed employees have gone back to work, federal websites are running, and federally-regulated state parks are once again open to the public.