What does a government shutdown really mean?

There has been much talk of government shutdowns, the most recent one being early in the morning of Feb. 9, while most of us were hopefully asleep. What does a government shutdown truly mean? Most of us average citizens do not feel the impacts of a government shutdown. Therefore, we may be unable to understand the extent of this matter.

The full impacts of a government shutdown can be better understood by relating the concept of a shutdown to something closer to home.

Suppose campus officials were unable to agree on a spending budget, as was the case for our nation’s government on Feb. 9, and campus had to shut down.

First of all, classes would be cancelled. This might sound positive until you go to the Batten Center with the hopes of hanging out with friends on your day off and discover it’s closed. No employees are able to come in, leaving the doors closed to crowds of students wanting to socialize over a game of pool or ping pong. You must find another way to occupy your time, which hypothetically you manage to do.

Then, around lunchtime you start to feel hungry. You go to the cafeteria, entering through Boyd’s outdoor entrance since Batten is closed, only to realize there is no food. All chefs and cafeteria staff have to take the day off as a result of the shutdown. No meals will be provided until the officials agree on a budget, so you better hope you have food in your room or money for delivery. If not, you may enter into the dreaded state hanger.

If you are one of the people financially stable enough to order food, the delivery driver will have no trouble getting onto campus since security has the day off as well. While people such as delivery drivers are welcome elements on campus, this also leaves campus open to seedier elements.

Furthermore, even though the card reader on each dormitory door is battery operated, what if one dies? Security would be unable to come along and change it. Suppose you get locked out of your room, security would be unable to come let you in. R.A.s would also be off duty due to the Office of Residence Life being closed. Hopefully you’re not someone like me who manages to lock themselves out on a quasi-regular basis.

Depending on how long the shutdown persisted for, cleanliness may also be an issue as cleaning staff would not be allowed to work either.

More practically speaking, student employees on campus could expect their next paychecks to be lower than usual, since they wouldn’t be allowed to work during the shutdown. The longer the shutdown lasts, the less money in students’ pockets.

There are many more ways in which a hypothetical shutdown would impact campus. However, the main point of this article is not to delve into a land of would be or could be, but to show the implications of government shutdown, even if we may not experience them first hand.

Ashley Kline