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NAGPS recently held their 2015 Fall Legislative Action Days on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. GradShare had the chance to speak with NAGPS President & CEO Kristofferson Culmer to learn more about the association and their efforts on Capitol Hill.
Tell us about The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS), for those that are unfamiliar with the group:
NAGPS is a national student led, student run, non-profit organization focused on advocating for policies and legislation at the campus, state, and federal level that advance graduate and professional student well-being.
Can you give us some background on the Legislative Action Days? How long has NAGPS done this, and what is the overall purpose?
NAGPS has been hosting the Advocacy Summit and Legislative Action Days for more than a decade now. The purpose of LAD is to provide the opportunity for students to meet with members of congress and their offices. This allows them to hear directly from students about how policies and legislation connected to higher education affect them and how [congress] can serve them better.
What key topics were on the agenda for this year?
We focused on four (4) topics for this LAD:
-- Open Access policies that improve access to Federally Funded research results
-- Domestic Revalidation of F-type student visas
-- Student Debt & Student Loan Interest Rates
-- Federal Investment to Research and higher education
How can graduate students participate in these Legislative Action Days in the future?
Our resources for the LAD are online at our website.
Will there be a follow-up report or news about what transpired on Capitol Hill this year?
Yes, we will release a summary on what happened at LAD and any actions that need to be taken.
Aside from this event, what other important events does NAGPS hold throughout the year?
NAGPS hosts a number of events throughout the year:
-- (5) Regional conferences in the spring
-- A Leadership Summit in the summer
-- A National Conference in the fall
-- (2) LADs (spring, summer)
And finally, how can students learn more about NAGPS?
You can also follow NAGPS's GradsHaveDebt2 campaign to highlight how student debt and student loan interest rates affect graduate-professional students.
A huge thanks to President Culmer for sharing all of this information! It's beneficial to graduate students everywhere, and we hope it will in encourage more students to partcipate in the future. GradShare will be following up with President Culmer and NAGPS to learn more details from the 2015 Legislative Action Days – be sure to check back for an update!