Why the Global Supply Chain Crisis Affects Everyone, including College Students


Photo Courtesy of Mika Baumeister.

By Paula Phounsavath, Editor in Chief

Since the pandemic, the demand for online orders and deliveries have gone higher, but employment in those areas has plummeted. Not enough employees in the supply chain management are driving the trucks to deliver the supplies from port to manufacturers, nor are ships are being docked at the ports yet to distribute the goods. The Insider reported that the potential causes for this crisis stems from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the struggling economic efforts in returning back to pre-pandemic times.


This video by Al Jazeera explains more about the crisis.

Before the pandemic, everyone was going out and about to leisures such as the movies, nightclubs and bars, restaurants, concerts, and so much more. There wasn’t a day where cities were not crammed with cars and pedestrians or nights where the skylines weren’t vibrant. Once quarantine started, that all changed. The general population was bored and needed to be productive. So, they resorted to not only online shopping, but also spending time online.


As a result, some orders took months to reach a person’s doorstep.


You may be thinking, “How does this ‘crisis’ have anything to do with me?”


As Gen Z’s and average college students, we do buy our needs/wants online and in-stores, such as groceries, clothes, makeup and personal care products, and other goods. Not only that, since the holidays are approaching, we would naturally want to give gifts to the people we love.


As college students who are heavily involved with student organizations, this crisis should be concerning us because we may have to order newer products and merchandise if we’re running low. As a leader of an organization, I’m sure that this is all pressuring us to constantly rush, considering the fact that every semester is over before we know it. Little things such as stickers, t-shirts, lanyards, or any custom-made merchandise that an organization needs may take a longer production duration because of the potential scarcity of supplies needed from manufacturers.


In fact, I recently had a conversation with a salesperson affiliated with ODU procurement regarding newer orders that I requested for the Mace and Crown. She said that the demand for manufactured products was so high that the supplier company started asking for paid volunteers in order to distribute these products. There are some organizations that wanted these certain products for a specific event, but she explained that it was not possible, considering the situation that the supplier is facing now.


It also does not help when the federal government is poorly managing the whole situation.


President Biden’s response to the supply crisis feels as if any sitting president was making empty promises to the People. President Biden has made promises that have been unfulfilled. At this point, it’s difficult to hear past what seems to be lies from his mouth.


From the mishandling of the fall of Kabul to the crisis at the Southern border, his administration has demonstrated poor management towards every crisis that occurs. According to the Associated Press, Biden is losing most of his crucial groups’ support, including the Democratic Party. His approval rating has hit the lowest since his inauguration.


On the contrary, I do empathize with the fact that Biden has had his hands tied with the last administration and the previous one. However, we can’t always turn to our government or the manufacturing companies for an answer. In fact, I am honestly uncertain if ANYONE has an answer on how to fix this for the long-term.


So, What Can We Do as Gen Z?


Do we wait patiently and consume less?


Do we need to rethink how we put our ‘wants’ over our needs?


Do we spread more awareness about these issues on social media by reposting and sharing, then let it go nowhere?


Or, do we distract ourselves again by dancing provocatively or making funny videos go viral on TikTok to make the problems go away?


It’s up to us to figure out the answer on how to cope with the crisis and the post-pandemic years to come.