WMU graduate students to host national conference this week

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National Association of Graduate-Professional Students logo.

This year's conference runs Nov. 7-10.

KALAMAZOO—Students from across the United States will be on the Western Michigan University campus Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 7-10, for the 27th annual conference of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students.

The conference, which is NAGPS' signature event, is expected to attract students representing more than 90 diverse universities and colleges. Those attending include representatives from Arizona State, Baylor, Cornell, Ohio State and Oklahoma State universities and participants from as far away as the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers in Brussels.

Rebecca Sametz, vice chairperson of WMU's Graduate Student Advisory Committee, submitted WMU's bid to host the 2013 event when she attended last year's NAGPS national conference at Duke University.

As host, GSAC has primary responsibility for fundraising, although all sponsorships must be approved by the NAGPS Board of Directors. In addition, GSAC is assisting the national conference director in organizing the event, including helping to arrange facilities and volunteer assistance.

About the conference

While on campus, conference attendees will be meeting in Wood and Sangren halls to share best practices, discuss issues important to graduate students, network and socialize. In addition, they will conduct national as well as regional business meetings, voting on legislative platforms and electing leaders for the coming year.

A pre-conference activity has been scheduled for Thursday, along with a 5:30 p.m. welcome reception for early arrivals. The conference will get fully underway Friday in Room 1001 Wood Hall with a welcome and overview of conference activities at 9 a.m. and a presentation on the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers at 9:30 a.m.

Numerous general sessions have been slated for both Friday and Saturday. They run about 30 minutes in length and cover a wide range of topics relevant to graduate student life.

This year's schedule includes:

  • "Social Justice and Voting: Using Constitutional Institutions and Political Parties to Advance Graduate Student Interests"
  • "Technology's Role in Student Organizations: Twitter, Facebook and Beyond"
  • "Citation Economy Be Damned: Research in the Internet Age and the Role of Graduate Student Governments"
  • "Getting a Raise: T.A. Pay Negotiations at Syracuse University"
  • "Immigration Reform: Creating DREAMzones in Higher Education Institutions"
  • "In One Peer and Out the Other: Preparing Students for the Future of Knowledge Production"

Among the new conference features this year are a Graduate Resource and Career Fair as well as short Ignite research sessions and research poster sessions. During those sessions, participants will highlight their work as a way of exchanging information, promoting discussion throughout the conference, and generating excitement about research and the world.

About WMU's GSAC

The Graduate Student Advisory Committee, formally a standing committee of the Graduate Studies Council, is run by and for WMU's full- and part-time graduate and professional students. Membership includes student representatives from every department that offers a graduate program.

The organization strives to promote excellence in graduate education and to improve all aspects of graduate student life at the University. It primarily functions as a liaison between the University's administration and graduate students, providing direct communication regarding policy and programming matters as well as student concerns.

About the national association

The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students is a student-run national, nonprofit organization that since 1987, has represented students enrolled in America's graduate and professional schools.

Its mission is to develop and sustain a member network that connects students across the country, so they may share resources and best practices in ways that empower member organizations to successfully serve their constituents and amplify students' voices to campus, state, and federal policymakers.

For more information about the conference, contact GSAC at (269) 387-8207 or gsac@wmich.edu or contact the WMU Graduate College at (269) 387-8212.