The Graduate Student Center, a centrally-located home on Locust Walk for graduate and professional students, was opened in 2001. The impetus for its creation lay largely with GAPSA, and the organization continues to advise the Graduate Center administration on policies and programs, and maintains an office on the second floor. The Grad Center helps students participate in a close-knit community by providing social and academic activities, helpful resources, and a centrally-located hang-out space with free coffee, wireless internet, a café, computer lounge, and meeting rooms.
GAPSA works closely with Director Anita Mastroieni and others on a variety of initiatives, including the Penn Mentoring Program ,Navigating Series, Family Resource Center, and the Emergency Backup Care Program for Students and Post-Docs.
In coordination with the Undergraduate Assembly, and the Graduate Associations at Drexel University and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, GAPSA is continually collects survey data from student renters in the Philadelphia area. Only with the help of Penn students are we able to publish statistically significant results on landlord ratings, which will help incoming and current students make better-informed decisions about housing. Please note that the survey is a work in progress and continually improving each semester.
“The Office of Student Affairs has responsibility for student activities and governance, University Life leadership programs, and campus-wide special events,” among other responsibilities.
GAPSA meets regularly with Executive Director Karu Kozuma to plan and implement student-focused initiatives, including GradFest, and is in close contact with other officials regarding GAPSA’s business operations.
GAPSA appoints graduate students to a number of prestigious committees under the auspices of the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and Office of the Vice Provost. These include the Lindback & Provost’s Teaching Awards Nominations Committee, the Graduate Council of the Faculties, the Division of Public Safety (DPS) Advisory Board, and Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee (SHIAC).
“The University Council of the University of Pennsylvania is a deliberative and broadly representative forum which exists to consider the activities of the University in all its phases, with particular attention to the educational objectives of the University and those matters that affect the common interests of faculty, staff and students.”
Along with the Undergraduate Assembly, 15 members of GAPSA sit on University Council to represent student interests, working closely with President Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price, and Vice Provost Andrew Binns
Dr. Amy Gutmann is the President of the University of Pennsylvania and chief executive of the institution, which is the largest private employer in Philadelphia. Among many accomplishments, Dr. Gutmann was recently named one of Newsweek magazine’s “150 Women Who Shake the World.”
Dr. Price is the twenty-ninth Provost of the University of Pennsylvania and “oversees all aspects of the University related to teaching, learning, scholarship, and research.”
As Vice Provost for Education, Dr. Binns oversees university-wide educational policies governing faculty and students.
“Formal institutional governance and fiduciary responsibility for the University of Pennsylvania rest solely with its Board of Trustees.” Please see. Along with the Undergraduate Assembly, members from GAPSA’s Executive Board serve as graduate liaisons to five Board of Trustee Committees:
1. Academic Policy Committee
2. Budget & Finance Committee
3. Facilities & Campus Planning Committee
4. Local, National, & Global Engagement Committee
5. Student Life Committee
As Penn’s university-wide graduate student government, representing over 10,000 students across twelve graduate schools, members of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) have the honor of engaging in an ongoing dialogue with the leaders of the university and sit on Board of Trustee and University Council meetings, and also meet regularly with Penn’s President and Provost. GAPSA representatives serve on 15 diverse committees (see detailed descriptions here). The Executive Officers of GAPSA are also well positioned within the university leadership architecture to advocate on behalf of students.
"WHEREAS the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly at University of Pennsylvania is concerned that the spending cuts mandated by sequestration will have a deleterious impact on graduate student research and education across the country and WHEREAS graduate students are vital and vulnerable stakeholders in the university community, now therefore be it RESOLVED that GAPSA urges the Penn administration to minimize the effect of sequestration on graduate students at Penn."
Learn more about GAPSA's efforts related to sequestration in this news article featured in The Daily Pennsylvanian