Graduate & Professional Student Senate

February 8, 2017

Senate with Sam. February 8, 2017.

Wednesday night at 5:30, a call to order and the banging of the gavel begin another evening of the Graduate Professional Student Senate Meeting. Every other Wednesday from 5:30pm-7:30pm a group of graduate student Senators meet to discuss problems and issues facing the Graduate School and the University of Washington as a whole, and through resolutions and group engagement, develop solutions and actions to assist the graduate student body. Most meetings have the following order of agendas: call to order, approval of agenda and minutes, guest speakers, resolutions, good of the order, officer reports, and announcements.

For 2017 Winter Quarter, there have already been two meetings completed and during that time. Senators heard from Rebecca Aanerud, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Planning, about the program reviews, Lyndsey M. Cameron, Principe Architectural Associate, about a Population Health Facility site selection plan, and Joanne Harrell, a Board of Regents member, about the Regents’ effort for diversity, inclusion, and equity. These speakers are invited to inform Senators about campus issues, projects, and services that are highly relevant to graduate and professional students as well as to get feedback from Senators on those agendas. Senators in turn take the information back to their constituents and communicate their perspective back to the GPSS.

While guest speakers and other information sessions are an important part of Senate meetings, resolutions are a chance for Senators to get their voices heard and take a collective action to bring a change to campus. This quarter the Senate has had a resolution such as adding a GPSS’ signatory to the Science Informed Leadership Consensus Statement and standing rock solidarity. These resolutions are introduced to the Senators, commented on, edited, and voted on over two meetings.

When a resolution is passed it becomes the official opinion of GPSS and is sent on to recipients listed at the end of the resolution. Any graduate and professional student can be an author of a resolution, but at least one current Senator must sponsor the resolution to bring it to Senate meetings. Towards the end of the meetings the President calls for requests for the Good of the Order. This is a time for Senators to bring pressing issues and events impacting the graduate student community both on and off campus up for discussion and debate with the entire Senate floor.

This allows Senators to hear about other problems on campus, and collectively work together towards finding a solution. Good of the Order, tries to stay away from simple announcements, and focuses on what good can the Senators do for the students and the school. This often spurs ideas for new programming, like a more robust professional development program, and other actionable items.

GPSS Senate meetings happen without fail every other Wednesday from 5:30pm-7:30pm in HUB 332. These meetings are open to the public and we encourage everyone to come check out the meetings, and we usually have snacks. Come for the snacks, but stay for energizing conversations!