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GPSC Update

Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) to host next National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS) National Meeting and Become Legacy Member

In October, I had the opportunity to be one of two representatives sent by GPSC, the other being Pan Wu (University Affairs Coordinator) to the annual NAGPS conference in Boulder, Colorado. GPSC has been sending representatives to this and related events since its earliest years. NAGPS is an organization founded by, run by and for graduate and professional students, and it spearheads both local and national legislative action relating to graduate and professional students. NAGPS was founded in 1987, when national legislation passed incurring a tax on student tuition waivers; and the group successfully lobbied to overturn that decision. It also serves as a venue for students to meet with their peers for support with their pressing student life issues and to share best practices and ideas with one another.

This year at the conference I led a discussion on the challenges of graduate career and professional development in post-graduate education. I was not surprised to find that this is a widespread problem among higher education institutions and one that has a lot of potential for improvement. Many schools are struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing job market in a tight economy. Here at Duke, career and professional development has been our most prominent and pressing issue over the last year.

While at the conference, we learned that the opportunity to submit a bid to host the next national meeting at Duke University was still available. Hosting the conference was something we had discussed for the past year as part of a larger plan to solidify our commitment to the group. With just a few hours to work we had to make a PowerPoint presentation emphasizing the assets of our graduate student association, our University and our community. We also had to prepare a budget and tentative schedule with possible locations. We competed against our fellow Atlantic Coast Conference member, Florida State University, for the honor of hosting the next conference. After both presentations and much debate by the NAGPS members, Duke University won the election process.

When we returned to Duke, GPSC’s General Assembly was pleased to have the opportunity to bring student representatives from our peer institutions across the nation to our beautiful campus. This commitment to NAGPS affected discussions of our membership plans. Having been a member for over 20 years, paying annual membership fees, the consideration to upgrade to a lifetime membership had not escaped us. As a lifetime membership is a significant onetime payment, thoughtful consideration went into the discussion. In the end, the lasting legacy to our future selves and the ability to help ensure the financial security of an organization to which we owe many thanks won the support of the General Assembly. We are pleased to announce that in addition to hosting the next national conference here at Duke, we will also join a select group of Legacy lifetime NAGPS members.