Advocacy

Graduate student voices matter at Princeton! There are many ways for graduate students to be involved in University governance and to contribute ideas and advocate for issues that are important to the graduate student community.  Through their participation in the organizations and structures listed below, graduate students have made improvements in areas such as stipend levels, graduate student life, housing, and health care.  

 

The Graduate Student Government

The Graduate Student Government (GSG) plays an important role in the lives of graduate students. It is the main entity responsible for representing their interests and for considering matters related to the experience of being a graduate student at Princeton. The GSG seeks to enhance the quality of life for graduate students, participates in the formulation of University policies, and provides input to the University administration on graduate student opinions and issues. Each department has a representative on the GSG.

How to Get Involved

The GSG holds monthly meetings that are open to the public; graduate students interested in specific issues or in getting involved are encouraged to attend. Election procedures for the representatives to the Assembly and for delegates are set within each group represented. Officers of the Executive Committee are elected annually per the GSG constitution, typically around March. More information about running for office can be obtained through email at gsg@princeton.edu (link sends e-mail). More information about the GSG can be found on their website.

 

Council of the Princeton University Community

The Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) acts as “a permanent conference of the representatives of all major groups of the University.”  It has the authority to “consider and investigate any question of University policy, any aspect of the governing of the University, and any general issue related to the welfare of the University; and to make recommendations regarding any such matters to the appropriate decision-making bodies of the University or to the appropriate officers of the University.” Meetings usually occur six times a year.  Council membership includes faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, staff and alumni representatives, but meetings are open to all in the University community (contact the Council's secretary, Christine Gage (link sends e-mail), if you would like to receive meeting notices). Graduate students frequently participate actively in the Council meetings.  The CPUC has six standing committees, all of which have graduate student representation: the Executive Committee, Priorities Committee, Governance Committee, Judicial Committee, Resources Committee, and the Rights and Rules Committee. There is also currently a Special Committee on Naming which also has a graduate student representative.

Below are brief descriptions of each standing committee:

  • Executive Committee: Sets the order of business of the Council and appoints members of standing committees.
  • Priorities Committee: Reviews and makes recommendations on the budget of the University. Among other things, the Priorities Committee proposes increases to graduate student stipend levels. This committee publishes annual reports on its budget allocation decisions.
  • Governance Committee: Considers and investigates questions relating to the governing of the University, and its members serve on the Board of Trustees committee that recommends recipients of honorary degrees at each year’s Commencement.
  • Judicial Committee: Hears and decides cases that involve alleged violations of rules that apply to all resident members of the University community and whose violation constitutes an especially serious or substantial threat to the rights of University community members, to the University’s mission, or to essential operations of the University.
  • Resources Committee: Considers questions of general policy concerning the procurement and management of the University’s financial resources, and advises the trustees on matters related to divestment.
  • Rights and Rules Committee: Considers and investigates the adequacy of all rules regarding the conduct of resident members of the University community, as well as the adequacy of the procedures for making and applying such rules.

How to Get Involved

Graduate students who are interested in serving on these committees should be in touch with the GSG (link sends e-mail), which coordinates nominations for the graduate student members.

 

The University Student Life Committee

The University Student Life Committee helps foster positive academic, residential and social experiences for undergraduates and graduate students. In conjunction with the Council of College Heads, which oversees such matters in the undergraduate residential colleges, the committee reviews policies affecting residential and extracurricular life for all undergraduate and graduate students. The committee may advise the dean of undergraduate students, the dean of the Graduate School, the dean of the college, the vice president for campus life, and the University president.  It may also report and make recommendations to the faculty. Normally, the committee includes in its deliberations, and in the work of any subcommittees which it may develop, student members of the University Student Life Committee of the Undergraduate and Graduate Student Governments.

How to Get Involved

Graduate students who are interested in serving on this committee should be in touch with the GSG (link sends e-mail), which elects the graduate student members.

 

Graduate Housing Advisory Board

The Graduate Housing Advisory Board (GHAB) considers issues regarding graduate student housing and makes recommendations on housing policy to the Graduate School and University Services (which includes the department of Housing and Real Estate Services). GHAB consists of representatives from each of the graduate residential communities (Lawrence, Lakeside, and the Graduate College), the GSG, and other groups representing specific communities within the graduate student body. GHAB meets monthly along with staff from the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School and Housing and Real Estate Services.

How to Get Involved

Graduate students who are interested in serving on this board should be in touch with their residential committee, the GSG (link sends e-mail), or Dean Secora (link sends e-mail).

 

Princeton University Student Health Plan Advisory Council

The purpose of the Princeton University Student Health Plan Advisory Council (SHPAC) is to ensure cross-campus representation and engagement in the benefits selection, vendor selection, monitoring, and evaluation of the Student Health Plan and the Student Group Vision and Dental Plans (based on American College Health Association guidelines for student benefit plans). The SHPAC also aims to improve communication about Student Health Plan benefits and issues and serve as a resource to the community with respect to the Student Health Plan.

How to Get Involved

Graduate students who are interested in participating can contact Janet Finnie (link sends e-mail) at University Health Services.

 

Graduate Student Departmental Committees

Each academic department establishes a departmental committee of graduate students to act as a liaison between the faculty and the graduate student body of the department. Each committee should normally meet with the committee of the departmental faculty concerned with graduate studies if one exists. The committee of graduate students should have the right to initiate discussion of any proposals relating to the departmental graduate program and can encourage students to participate in departmental affairs of special interest and relevance to them.

How to Get Involved

Graduate students who are interested in participating on their departmental committee can contact their GPA or DGS for more information.