Low temperatures hit the Midwest at more than 20 degrees below zero at the end of January. The low temperatures are potentially life-threatening to the Midwest. According to an analysis of Google search on Google Trends, the Polar Vortex maintained the top search in the region and searched largely within the Midwest.
The definition of a Polar Vortex is a large amount of cold air swirling in the polar regions. During the winter season, the polar vortex at the north pole regions expands, sending cold air southwards. This happens repeatedly every year and is associated with the low temperatures in the United States, especially this year.
From the graph, it can be concluded that the Polar Vortex was the most searched at the end of January through the first week of February of 2019. It reached the highest popularity peak of the most searched topic. From the map above, it shows that Illinois is the top leading state to search the polar vortex and Minnesota coming in second place.
Cold Temperatures Forces School Closing across Chicago
When the Midwest was hit with twenty degrees below zero temperatures, schools that are located in Chicago were forced to close down. According to an analysis of Google search on Google Trends, School closing maintained the top search, reaching its highest peak of popularity against the polar vortex.
All Chicago Public Schools were closed on Wednesday, the 30th of January due to the freezing temperatures. In addition, most universities in the Chicago area was closed too. From the graph, it can be concluded that people are searching more about the school closing because the closing are connected to the polar vortex.
Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.
“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”
MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.
“We do not want anyone denied that opportunity because of finances,” Quinn said. “We can’t afford to lose all the talent that exists, all the ability that exists for higher education to help our economy and to help all of us, because there are financial challenges that deny someone the opportunity to go to community college or a four-year university — public and private — in our state.”
Quinn was joined by several Illinois college students, including DePaul Student Government Association Vice President Casey Clemmons.
“Every year over 5,000 DePaul students receive MAP grants, and just like the students who have already spoken here today, all of these DePaul students rely on this funding in order to continue their college careers,” Clemmons said.
“Because the number of Illinois students eligible to receive MAP is currently increasing, existing funding does not allow the state to assist all the eligible students. As a result, without action by the Illinois state leadership, more DePaul students than ever will see their MAP funding disappear this year and more
DePaul students than ever will be forced to give up their education due to finances.”
More than 150,000 students nationally receive MAP grants each year.
Clemmons told the audience that on Tuesday, DePaul’s SGA unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Illinois general assembly and the governor to ensure the longevity of the MAP program. He read the resolution aloud and presented a copy to Quinn.
Ken Thomas, a University of Illinois Board of Trustees student member, MAP recipient and University of Illinois Chicago student, told how he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the MAP grant.
“My mom, when I was in high school, had to work two jobs just to keep food on the table,” Thomas said, “and if we didn’t have [the] MAP program like we do today, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today; graduating with a degree, hoping to be a productive member of society.”
Having a productive and functioning society and economy is what Quinn says it’s all about.
“Jobs follow brainpower,” he said. “We want to make sure we have smart people in Illinois. Well skilled, well-educated students coming out of college with graduate degrees and diplomas so they can create jobs, create new businesses,” he said. “Our goal in Illinois is to have at least 60 percent of the adults in our state with a college degree or college associate degree or career certificate by the year 2025. In order to achieve we have to make sure we have a good scholarship program.”
Clemmons said that in order for that to happen, state legislatures need to reflect upon the question, “What must be done?” and do what’s required.