Become a Senator!
The Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) is the official student government for all graduate and professional students at UW-Seattle. GPSS represents students to the UW administration and state and federal governments and puts on regular social and professional events. Each UW department or program sends two Senators to Senate Meetings every other Wednesday at 5:30PM. You can find the full schedule of meetings here.
- Attend at least three* Senate meetings per quarter
- Get input from students in your department
- Relay information from the Senate to students in your department
*If you will be unable to meet the attendance requirement but still wish to serve as a Senator for you department please contact the Secretary at email@example.com
Why Become a Senator?
- Ensure students in your department are heard
- Meet people from other parts of campus
- Develop professional communication skills
- Provide information and resources to your classmates
- Boost your resume
If you are interested, talk to your Graduate Program Advisor about the process for becoming a Senator in your department. If you have any questions email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about Duties to be an Impactful Senator
The GPSS Senator Handbook contains information about the history, purpose, and operations of the GPSS. Below is the list of topics addressed in the handbook:
- GPSS History
- GPSS Structure
- GPSS Function
- Committee Information
- GPSS Organizational Chart
- Officers & Staff 2015-2016
- Meeting Dates 2015-2016
- Senator Rights & Responsibilities
- Parliamentary Procedure
- Parliamentary Procedure Guide to Common Motions
- GPSS Constitution
- GPSS Bylaws
Download the most current GPSS Senate Handbook 2015-2016
Join a GPSS Committee!
GPSS has a variety of internal Committees that participate in decision making for the organization. One of the ways that students can voice graduate needs across campus is through these. There are several standing Committees that exist every year. Each Committee has a specific set of responsibilities and issues that they cover. Most of these Committees are open to any graduate and professional student.
Committees Open to All Students
Empowerment, “Diversity,” and Accountability Committee
Empowerment, “Diversity,” and Accountability Committee
- The Empowerment, “Diversity,” and Accountability Committee (EDA) shall be composed of the Vice President of Equity and Inclusion and any number of volunteer members that are graduate and professional students
- The VP of Equity and Inclusion shall chair and oversee the functioning of this committee
- A Student Activities Office advisor will serve as an ex-officio non-voting member
- Other recommended members and collaborators may include: GPSS Representative to Faculty Council on Race, Equity, and Justice, Faculty Council on Gender, Equity, and Justice, and the Diversity Council, Graduate Student Equity and Excellence (GSEE), the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMAD), the Q Center, the D Center, the Women’s Center, the Office of Student Veteran Life, the ASUW Joint Commissions, the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC), and the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS).
The GPSS Equity and Accountability Committee is a community of resistance undertaking strategic actions to eradicate the historical inequities inherent in institutionalized academic structures and settings. We recognize the inequities existing along lines of difference including racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism, bigotry, xenophobia, and other isms resulting from systems of oppression that perpetuate disempowerment. Rather than celebrate a neutral “diversity,” “tolerance,” or “multiculturalism,” the committee instead acknowledges the lived experiences of various groups of underrepresented and minoritized (URM) graduate and professional students on campus by combating injustices and empowering students through university resources.
Last revised in 2019 by Giuliana Conti (Music Education), Amy Gabriel (Public Policy & Governance), Breon Haskett (Sociology), and Meshell Sturgis (Communication)
EDA broadly functions as GPSS’s accountability branch by incorporating diversity and empowerment into GPSS goals and activities and promoting inclusion. Diversity includes but is not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, dis/ability, age, religion, language and nationality. To that end, the EDA serves to:
- Undertake strategic actions to eradicate the historical inequities inherent in institutionalized academic structures and settings;
- Establish criteria for and award grants from the GPSS Diversity Funds;
- Annually conduct GPSS Composition Surveys;
- Plan, host, and promote campus-wide events and programming on diversity issues;
- Collaborate with students, faculty, administration, staff, and others on diversity programming, events, and activities;
- Facilitate communication between the GPSS and graduate and professional students working on diversity issues within their department, college, or school;
- Hear grievances concerning inequities existing along lines of difference including, but not limited to, racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism, bigotry, and xenophobia, and refer grievances or complaints to the Judicial Committee for investigation when applicable under Article VI, Section B, Clause 2, subsection a.
Fall 2021: November 10 | December 1 | December 15
Winter 2022: January 5 | January 19 | February 2 | February 16 | March 2
Spring 2022: March 30 | April 13 | April 27 | May 11 | May 25
4-5:15 pm PST in HUB 303 & Zoom ID: 94555968697
Question, comments, concerns can be directed to the VP of Equity and Inclusion, Meshell Sturgis (she/her) at email@example.com
To be added to the Diversity email list, visit: UW Mailman
Legislative Advisory Board
Legislative Advisory Board
- The Legislative Advisory Board (LAB) shall be composed of the Vice President of External Affairs, the Policy Director, the Organizing Director, and any number of volunteer members that are graduate and professional students.
- The Vice President of External Affairs or their Policy Director shall chair and oversee the functioning of this Committee.
- Assists the Vice President of External Affairs in developing a legislative agenda for Winter Quarter’s legislative session
- Advise and assist the Vice President of External Affairs on issues related to the GPSS’s lobbying efforts and in particular Graduate Student on Day on the Hill
- Assist with lobbying during the interim Spring, Summer, and Fall quarters
Wednesdays 2:00PM to 3:00PM. More information can be found here.
GPSS Legislative Agenda
2020-2021 GPSS Legislative Agenda Coming Soon!
UW SAGE Delegation
Student Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE) is a coalition of Graduate Student Organizations from leading U.S. public research universities who are committed to improving the quality of graduate student life at their own campuses, and promoting access, quality, and opportunity for graduate and professional students at the federal level.
In March, members of the UW SAGE Delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate for policies that directly impact UW graduate students. To learn more about the 2019 advocacy issues, check out the 2019 SAGE Day on the Hill White Papers. Contact our Vice President of External Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information!
- The Travel Grants Committee (TGC) shall be composed of the Treasurer and four to six at-large Senators or graduate and professional students appointed by the Treasurer.
- The Treasurer shall chair and oversee the functioning of this committee.
The TGC works to allocate funding in a manner that supports the personal and professional development of graduate and professional students through participation in academic and professional conferences and competitions. To that end, the TGC serves to:
- Assist the Treasurer in communicating policies and procedures governing the Travel Grants process
- Utilize the Travel Grants Rubric in allocating travel grant funds. In fall quarter, the committee will use the Rubric agreed upon by the previous year’s committee. The current committee can decide to amend the rubric after the Fall Cycle has closed, and have these changes take effect for the Early Winter Cycle Travel Grants applicants shall be judged based on the criteria delineated in the Rubric
- The recipients are selected by a simple majority vote of the committee.
- It is recommended that each application be graded by three committee members since some members tend to be low or high scorers.
- If a TGC member has applied for a travel grant, the individual cannot participate in the application review for that specific application cycle.
- Assist the Treasurer in advertising the availability of Travel Grants to the GPSS Senators and other graduate and professional students
- Review and recommend an annual Travel Grants budget to the Finance and Budget Committee for the following fiscal year.
- The TGC shall be formed no later than November 1 each fiscal year. At the time of its formation, it will assume responsibility for the allocation of the GPSS Travel Grants. In the event that the previous Travel Grants Committee is no longer in session, the Executive Committee shall temporarily assume the responsibility in the interim.
- It is recommended that the TGC plans to meet nine times during the academic year (Fall through Spring).
- Four times during Fall quarter
- Twice during Winter quarter
- Three times during Spring quarter
- During the summer the committee shall meet twice, once in early July and once in early August to evaluate Summer Cycle applicants. If the Treasurer is unable to convene the TGC during the summer, the Executive Committee shall assume the responsibility and evaluation of Summer Cycle applications will occur during Executive Committee meetings.
- A quorum of the committee shall be a simple majority of its members plus the Treasurer.
To inquire about committee openings, contact the GPSS Treasurer at email@example.com
Science & Policy
Science & Policy
- The Science and Policy Committee (SPC) shall be composed of Vice President of Internal Affairs, Director of Events, Vice President for External Affairs (when possible), Policy Analyst (when possible) and any number of volunteer members that are graduate and professional students.
- The Vice President of Internal Affairs or its designee shall chair and oversee the functioning of the SPC.
- Other recommended members and collaborators may include:
- Representatives from the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy (FOSEP), Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS), and other student groups and UW faculty engaged in science policy.
The SPC is to enhance the discourse between scientists and policy makers through advocacy, community building, and student empowerment, working with the Vice President for Internal Affairs and the Director of Events as well as the Vice President of External Affairs or Policy Analyst when possible. To that end, the SPC serves to:
- Assist student scientists in developing their skills in communication across disciplines and to the general public and promote public awareness of science research at the University of Washington, by providing opportunities to develop partnerships in the UW and greater Seattle community
- Create opportunities and organize science and events in collaboration with other GPSS committees, UW organizations, and national organizations (such as the National Science and Policy Group) as needed.
The Arts Council creates a space for students in the arts across campus to collaborate interdisciplinarily, develop stronger community, and advocate for the improvement of issues recognized during Council meetings which affect students within the arts at UW. Students in the departments of Drama, Music, Dance, and Art + Art History + Design are encouraged to join, however other graduate students who are interested in the Committee are also more than welcome. Supporting the arts on campus is incredibly important and we are only as successful as the effort we invest. Meeting dates, times, and locations will be posted soon, if you have any questions in the meantime please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Committees Exclusive to GPSS Senators or Officers
President, Vice President of Internal Affairs, Vice President of External Affairs, Secretary, Treasurer, five Executive Senators, and an ASUW Board of Directors member.
- Takes specific actions to address the issues and concerns identified by the Senate
- Reviews and recommends an annual budget to the Senate for the following fiscal year
- Annually approves, by a 2/3 majority, special and departmental funding guidelines and criteria to be used by the Finance and Budget Committee
- Approves presidential recommendations and appointments to the Services and Activities Fee Committee, Student Technology Fee Committee, GPSS Finance and Budget Committee, University Bookstore Board of Trustees, and SAGE
- Acts on behalf of the Senate between Senate Meetings
You can find the full schedule of meetings here.
For more information, email the GPSS President at email@example.com.
The Secretary (non-voting) and up to six Senators. Members of the Judicial Committee cannot sit on any other internal GPSS committees. Members cannot run for GPSS office and must resign from their committee position at least 35 days prior to the officer election if they choose to run.
The Judicial Committee is the standing investigative body of the GPSS. It investigates any grievance that arises concerning an interpretation of the GPSS Constitution or Bylaws or concerning any procedure, committee, officer, officer candidate, or Senator of the GPSS. The Judicial Committee has the right to review any proposed Bylaw changes before they are presented to the GPSS.
At least once per quarter, or more depending on work load.
To inquire about committee openings, contact the GPSS Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finance & Budget
Finance & Budget
The Treasurer and five to nine Senators.
- Oversees and approves the annual GPSS Budget
- Allocates funding for the Special Allocation Fund (special projects funding for Registered Student Organizations)
- Allocates funding for the Department Allocation Fund (special funding to build student communities in the UW’s various departments)
For Fall Quarter, Fridays from 11:00AM to 12:00PM. More information can be found here.
For more information, email the GPSS Treasurer email@example.com.
Become a GPSS Liaison!
The GPSS President appoints graduate and professional students to serve as GPSS Liaisons to the University committees, which determine policies that impact graduate and professional students.
The 2020-2021 GPSS Liaison Application is now open! Are you interested in networking, service, and professional development? Represent the roughly 15,000 graduate and professional students as a liaison! These positions are appointed to committees held by campus partners, Faculty Senate, and UW administrators. Graduate student involvement in decision-making at every level across campus is crucial. If you are interested in serving as a GPSS liaison this year, please fill out this form. You may also reference this glossary to determine your priorities and learn more about the general appointment of a Liaison by reading the Liaison Handbook. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.