University at Albany

NAGPS National Leadership Summit

Each year, the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students holds a Leadership Summit. The purpose of the summit is leadership development and the goal is to provide tangible tools, training, and skills that student leaders can bring back to their respective organizations. This year, the University at Albany Graduate Student Association was selected to host the summit from August 3-5 at Husted Amphitheater on the Downtown Campus. The topic of this year's summit will be:

Sustainable Leadership: Using Principles as a Model for Graduate Student Governance

Summit Program


Why Sustainable Leadership?

In today’s society, a common misconception is that the sole definition of sustainability is the ability to preserve natural resources for future generations, which accurately describes environmental sustainability. But sustainability as a whole also includes equity and social components, such as financial and employment security, fair compensation, labor rights, social justice, cultural diversity, community enhancement, human rights, education, quality of life, environmental justice, interaction with the natural world and preservation of the environment and aesthetic resources. As a leader, we are chosen by a diverse community to represent its members and serve as their voice. Whether you are a leader on the student, local, state or even federal level, you must effectively balance and integrate economic, equity, and environmental matters. Sustainable leaders utilize these principles as a tool to sustain these valuable facets of life at the short and long term extent.

The 2015 Leadership Summit will give you the toolbox to develop and implement sustainable leadership practices within your campus organization and local community. We have invited local leaders from the University at Albany and broader community that address these issues on a daily basis. They will recount their own experiences and provide the necessary tools and strategies used to approach various dilemmas pertinent to graduate student leaders such as transition and change, institutional memory, high turnover, social justice, employment concerns, international student concerns, and legislation. Our final workshop will discuss various ways to implement positive change in your campus organization by effectively organizing a group of individuals, building rapport with your administration, networking with other groups on and off campus, and advocacy.

Breakout Sessions:

The purpose of our breakout sessions are to facilitate discussions about current dilemmas that graduate student leaders and organizations are facing. We are requesting feedback from attendees during registration in order to tailor scenarios specific to their organizations. At the end of each breakout session, all of the groups will come back together and discuss strategies and solutions for each scenario.

Breakout Session 1: Student Governance and Institutional Change
1. Conflict Resolution
2. Transition and change
3. High turnover
4. Institutional memory

Breakout Session 2: The Intersection of Student Crises
1. Social Justice
2. Employment Concerns
3. International Student Concerns
4. Legislation

Breakout Session 3: The Graduate Student’s Toolbox for Change
1. Protesting/sit-ins
2. Organizing a group of individuals
3. Rapport with administration
4. Networking to groups on and off campus (public officials, nonprofits)

Where can I sign up?

The summit is FREE for University at Albany graduate students. You can register here. Please contact the Summit Director, Cassidy Drasser (, for instructions for UAlbany student attendees.

Committee Members:

Cassidy Drasser, Director of the 2015 NAGPS Leadership Summit; Biodiversity Conservation & Policy Master's Student; Graduate Students for Sustainability Treasurer

Caitlin Janiszewski, Latin American, Caribbean and US Latino Studies PhD Student; GSA University Council Representative; NAGPS Chair of Employment Concerns

Erin Sanderson, Biodiversity Conservation & Policy Master's Student; Graduate Students for Sustainability President; GSA Judicial Board Member; GSA Assembly Representative

Kat Slye, Political Science PhD Student; GSA Vice President

Lisa Cassidy, Biodiversity Conservation & Policy Master's Student; GSA Programming Chair

Mary Alexis Leciejewski, Office of Environmental Sustainability Program Assistant

Robin Gatlin, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Master's Student; Women's Studies Undergraduate Committee