It’s been nearly two weeks since the end of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history and the possibility of another shutdown still looms, making many federal workers uneasy about their future.
SUU has the privilege of placing many of our students as interns in National Parks and other federal agencies. However, many employed students are struggling to recover from the 35-day government shutdown.
Out of concern for the SUU interns, the Outdoor Engagement Center Director, Dr. Briget Eastep, reached out to several students to see how the shutdown affected them. Several responded, including Kelly Livingston, a senior studying outdoor recreation.
Livingston became an intern with SUU’s Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC) during the summer of 2016. Her time with IIC helped her discover her career path.
“[My first] internship as a Rangeland Tech opened my eyes to just how rewarding it is to be outside in a learning and profitable environment,” Livingston said. “It was through this opportunity that I realized there could be more out there for me in this realm of work that would be an even better fit.”
Livingston had the opportunity to continue working in her current IIC job as a Recreation Technician through the fall and winter months. However, since the shutdown on Dec. 21, work has been scarce.
Along with the financial cutbacks, many students also rely on their internships for course credit or EDGE projects. For Livingston, it was last step in order for her to graduate on time.
“I know I’m not the only one [who was] affected by this shutdown,” she said. “I know thousands of others in much more respectable and weighted positions are seeing a substantial amount of negative repercussions as well.
With the government up and running again, Livingston, her coworkers and other federal workers began to pick up the pieces.
It is Eastep and Livingston’s goal to shed some light on the effects of the shutdown in order to prevent it from happening again.
“I am hoping this gets settled sooner than later, and remain optimistic that our government can move forward and get back to regular working capacity,” she said.
Any IIC interns or other student federal workers who have thoughts or concerns on the latest government shutdown, can contact Dr. Briget Eastep at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Outdoor Engagement Center.