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University at Albany Hosts National Graduate Student Summit

UAlbany is First SUNY School to Host Event, Aug. 3-5

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 22, 2015) -- Graduate student leaders from across the nation will converge on the University at Albany from August 3-5 to discuss sustainable leadership during the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) Leadership Summit.

According to outgoing Graduate Student Association President Caitlin Janiszewski, this is the first time a SUNY school is hosting the conference. The first summit was held at Colorado School of Mines in 2012, Northwestern in 2013, and Carnegie Mellon in 2014.

UAlbany Director of the Office of Sustainability Mary Ellen Mallia will give the keynote address at 3:45 p.m. on Monday, August 3, in the Husted Amphitheater on the University’s Downtown Campus. In addition, UAlbany President Robert J. Jones will address the group on Tuesday, August 4, in the Husted Amphitheater. Summit programs will continue on the downtown campus, with the exception of a reception by the main fountain on the uptown campus on the evening of August 3.

“We chose UAlbany because we were confident they would be able to host a successful conference because of the level of engagement from its graduate student leaders and also the overwhelming support from their administration and campus community,” said NAGPS President Kristofferson Culmer. “Furthermore, the chosen theme of this year’s summit, sustainable leadership, is both novel and timely as graduate-professional student leaders nationwide look to improve the stability and consistency of their respective governments to better serve their constituents now and in the future.”

As leaders in sustainable innovation, UAlbany speakers will discuss the principles of leadership they used to advance the University’s sustainability movement and how those principles can be applied to student governance. After each session, summit attendees will participate in breakout sessions to develop actionable strategies to implement in their respective governments.

“The philosophy of sustainability has been at the core of the political, structural, and institutional progress made by the Graduate Student Association. I knew that by developing a summit around these principles, we would not only offer our best to the NAGPS network, but would be developing the best parts of ourselves,” said Janiszewski, who suggested the theme of sustainable leadership in a preproposal.

Hosting the summit helps put UAlbany on the NAGPS’ national radar, added Janiszewski, who reports that the involvement has already led to greater involvement by UAlbany students with the national organization.

Janiszewski serves as NAGPS National Employment Concerns Chair, while UAlbany School of Education Instructor Hirah Mir serves as Northeast Regional Employment Concerns Chair. In addition, UAlbany graduate students who serve on the University Senate have become an integral part of the NAGPS’ Legislative Action Days in Washington, D.C. each semester.

In addition to Janiszewski, a team of volunteers from UAlbany’s Graduate Student Association including Cassidy Drasser, Kat Slye, Lisa Cassidy, Erin Sanderson and Robin Gatlin, wrote the winning proposal to host the summit.

Drasser, Cassidy and Sanderson head the Recognized Graduate Student Organization in charge of Sustainability. RGSOs focus on professional development and advocacy work and also constitute the majority of the legislative branch of the UAlbany GSA.

Using equity, society and environment as the foundation, summit organizers propose that the principles of sustainability are effective tools for building institutional memory, organizing students, managing people, conflict resolution, and are especially helpful in conducting the advocacy work upon which NAGPS focuses: student debt and federal funding, international student concerns, employment concerns, social justice and legal concerns.

Founded in 1987, NAGPS is a completely volunteer, student-run, national non-profit organization that represents more than 600,000 graduate and professional students at more than 90 institutions across the United States. NAGPS sustains a member network that connects graduate and professional students, shares resources, provides benefits and training, and advocates at the state, regional and national level to give a voice to all graduate and professional students.

The summit is open to all graduate students. Cost is $110, but free for UAlbany students. Registration information may be found on the summit’s event page.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.