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    2019 CGS Advocacy Day
    April 12, 2019

    On April 3rd and 4th, 40 CGS member deans and graduate students attended CGS’s 2019 Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. The activities of the two-day event included a training session on effective advocacy strategies with CGS’s government affairs staff, and Congressional meetings on Capitol Hill. Participants met with 61 House and Senate offices of both parties to advocate on behalf of graduate education, research, and scholarship. Using CGS-prepared requests, advocates urged legislators to preserve graduate student borrowing and loan repayment options in a Higher Education Act reauthorization; strengthen support for federal student aid and research funding in Fiscal Year 2020; and support policies that promote the U.S. as a welcoming environment to attract and retain international graduate students.


    More information on Advocacy Day can be found in the April 2019 edition of CGS's GradEdge newsletter. 


    View photos of CGS's 2019 Advocacy Day.


    Testimonials from participating deans and graduate students:


    Dr. Karen Butler-Purry, Associate Provost, Graduate Studies, Texas A&M University; 2018 CGS Board of Directors Chair 

    • "The First Amendment of the Constitution outlines the “right of the people….to petition the government.” Graduate education must embrace and champion this right.  We must make concerted efforts to speak up and to ensure that legislators, government leaders and policy makers understand our particular needs and priorities. The CGS Hill Advocacy Day provides a high-quality opportunity to practice such advocacy and I greatly appreciate the chance to join with my fellow graduate deans and the graduate community to promote our cause. Furthermore, CGS Hill Advocacy Day provided a valuable professional development opportunity for the Texas A&M University graduate students who joined me. The active development sessions in the art of advocacy and the practical application via meetings with legislative aides will pay dividends for years to come."


    Dr. Jerome Kukor, Dean of the Graduate School, Rutgers University; 2019 CGS Advisory Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy Chair

    • "The Legislative Assistants/Legislative Directors with whom I met were keenly interested in my major requests, viz., restoration of subsidized student loans for graduate students, and improvement of the loan terms for GradPlus loans, because many of these legislative aides are considering graduate school and would need to take out loans to do so. The cost of borrowing is a concern for them." 


    Celeste Bremmer, I-O Psychology Master's Candidate, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

    • "One of my favorite moments happened during the training workshop. We were tasked with creating a 6-word phrase to help brand graduate education that would spark conversation with our congressional staff. My favorite phrase we developed as a group was “learning it, creating it, and implementing it.” This is just one example from the event that illustrates when you connect diverse individuals with a similar passion, you’re truly able to make a greater impact. CGS made this possible, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity. I hope to continue advocating for graduate education and share this experience with others!"


    Jonathan Parcell, Higher Education in Student Affairs Master's Student, Salem State University

    • "To be part of the Council of Graduate Schools’ Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. was a truly rewarding experience. I was a little nervous at first, but the training and preparation the members of CGS provided, gave me the confidence I needed to go to Capitol Hill.  This event gave me a chance to network with a number of other graduate students from different programs from around the country all advocating for graduate education. No matter which side of the political aisle you are on, this is a great opportunity get an inside look on what it is like to work on Capitol Hill.  It was a privilege to represent my university and meet with staff members of local senators and representatives sharing how graduate school has prepared me for the future. This experience boosted my interest in policy and I would recommend attending Advocacy Day to anyone who has an interest in this area."  


    Ali Al Qaraghuli, Electrical Engineering PhD Student, University at Buffalo, SUNY

    • "I found the CGS advocacy day to be a day of high importance, and definitely has added value to my career, particularly coming from a science/technology background and as an electrical engineering PhD student. Providing personal examples of how funding of such agencies of interest (such as NSF, NIH, Dept. of Ed, NASA, etc.) is the reason I am able to pursue my passion, and why funding for such organizations is crucial in the development of future technologies, especially concerning healthcare. I found the staff of the senators to be welcoming and receptive to suggestions, and the trainings and workshops provided by CGS definitely prepared me for all the interactions. I hope to participate in this event again next year if given the chance." 


    Erin Wright, International Security Policy Master's Candidate, The University of Alabama in Huntsville

    • "We met with representatives to put forth the policies that CGS and UAH are focused on. We dealt with every situation they had trained us for – people who were pressed for time, people who had tough questions, people who were not friendly. We had four meetings, but after the first one, it got a lot easier!"


    Theresa E. Hernandez, Urban Education Policy Doctoral Student, University of Southern California

    • “This was the first year ever that the Council of Graduate Schools invited graduate students to accompany their deans, so that we could tell our personal stories and put more of that human face on the appeal to support graduate education specifically. I decided to participate because it just sounded really unique as an opportunity—different than the research activities or the more local advocacy work that I’ve engaged in. I thought it would be a great learning experience to see how national policy advocacy happens.”


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.