About Us

Welcome to the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) at The University of Iowa!

A Brief Overview

The GSS is comprised of grad students, for grad students. It is the duly constituted collegiate association of the Graduate College and is the primary representative, administrative, and service organization for the graduate students at the University of Iowa. It serves as the voice of the graduate student population to the university administration, faculty, and to all other organizations at the University, and within the Iowa City community. Furthermore, it assists in the administration of resources designated to graduate students, and works to establish and maintain programs and activities of interests to graduate students. For more detailed information, please consult our GSS Handbook.

The History of GSS

The graduate students of the University of Iowa have organized in 1968 the Graduate Student Senate - hereafter referred to as the GSS - as a forum in which graduate students could express concerns about issues of importance to them. Since then GSS has represented the "voice" of graduate students throughout the University of Iowa campus and has impacted graduate life through service, social and most importantly research activities, such as the University-wide Jakobsen Graduate Conference.

Why should I be a senator?

GSS Senators are the core of the Graduate Student voice on campus. There are many ways to become involved and ways in which you can make a difference for yourself, your department, and your fellow graduate student. At minimum, senators attend a monthly meeting and serve actively on at least one committee. Alternate senators are encouraged to attend monthly meetings and participate in at least one committee. There are many reasons to be a senator in GSS. There are both personal and departmental benefits:


  • GSS gives preference to departments with active representation in the senate. This can help your departments gain resources, such as computers.
  • GSS aims to be the voice of graduate students. A senator from your department is the easiest way to be sure the voice of graduate students in your department is heard.


  • Leadership opportunity
  • Meet University administration and build working relationships
  • Help create a better environment for you and fellow graduates - socially, academically, and through service events.
  • It engages you in the University.
  • Your efforts in GSS are notable on your CV
  • Participation in committees can help you learn how to secure travel funding, assist in planning University-wide social and academic events, and have an outlet for service efforts.

GSS Service Reward System

GSS strives to be the voice of graduate students at The University of Iowa. To do this, we work hard to organize social events, service events, academic events, and to work with University Administration to make the Graduate experience at Iowa as fulfilling as possible. These events only happen because dedicated students give of their time. GSS wishes to recognize and award senators who contribute significantly to our goals. Therefore, starting in Fall 2008, GSS has implemented a Service Reward System. Here are the details:

  1. Recognized Senator: 26–35 logged service hours/academic year
  2. Senator with Honors: 36–45 logged service hours/academic year
  3. Exemplary Senator: 46+ logged service hours/academic year

Executives and Committee Chairs are keeping track of hours. Senators earning a service-based title will be recognized each semester and their department will be informed of their proud efforts. In May, there will be a special Awards Dinner reception for those senators who have achieved "Exemplary Senator." Stay involved, earn recognition, give grads a voice!

A few notes about the Service Reward System:

  • Senators in attendance at General Meetings earn service hours equal to the length of the meeting.
  • There is no difference between full and alternate senators regarding this service reward system, ways senators earn service hours, or recognition by GSS.
  • Participation is optional. You are not required to achieve any set level of the service reward system.
  • Unique circumstances (e.g. have to teach on meeting nights) will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis upon the request of individual senators.
  • The service reward system in no way alters or changes that which is written in the GSS constitution. This system is only focused on rewarding effort and dedication, not mandating requirements.
  • Please contact the Membership Officer for more information.
  • You can download and use the "GSS_Service_Hour_Log.doc" to keep track of your committee members service hours. You may also use the form to submit your time spent on GSS-related activties that may have been done individually and are of a technical nature (sending emails, meeting with administrators, etc). Please send the form to the Membership Officer.
  • Each senator is responsible for ensuring his/her service hours are accurately recorded and submitted to the Membership Officer. Contact the Membership Officer if you have questions.

Questions and Comments

Throughout the site, you will find that each contact person will have their e-mail available for you to contact them through our website. If you aren't sure who you need to specifically contact, please use our Contact Form and select your question/concern from the category list. That will make sure it gets sent to the appropriate person.

GSS Forms and Documents

Download the appropriate file below by clicking the link: