Skip to main content

This is an archival copy of the 2006–2017 Assemblies website. This information is no longer updated.


The GPSA brings together Cornell’s 7,000 graduate and professional (M.B.A., J.D., D.V.M.) students to address non-academic issues of common concern. Drawing upon the strengths of our diverse constituencies, we work with the university administration to improve the quality of life at the University.

Cornell has developed a system of campus governance that involves all the members of the campus community in making decisions that impact life at the University. This system includes the Faculty Senate, Student Assembly (undergraduate), the Employee Assembly, the University Assembly and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly. Like the other assemblies, the GPSA engages the needs and concerns of its constituents, communicating these directly to the University administration. We also appoint graduate and professional students to university committees, where they have a direct voice in decision-making processes.

In addition to addressing concerns of everyone at Cornell, the GPSA takes up a number of issues and concerns of particular interest to graduate and professional students.

  • In the fall of every odd-year, we hold hearings to set and distribute the Graduate and Professional Student Activity Fee, which every graduate and professional student pays.
  • We sponsor social events that are open to all graduate and professional students, such as the End-of-Year Barbeque and Summer TGIF (Tell Grads It’s Friday).
  • We lobby the administration to improve pay and benefits for graduate and professional students, including insurance coverage, quality of health care services, child care facilities and career service.
  • We provide unparalleled support for campus programming sponsored by graduate and professional student organizations. Through the GPSA Finance Commission, we allocate funds (from the Activity Fee) to student groups. In 2009–−2010, the Finance Commission will allocate to 200 groups for cultural, performance, and social events.
  • The GPSA takes action on a range of topics, from transportation to library services to international student concerns. Please click here to learn more about some of our current issues and campaigns.

Depending on its size, each field selects either one or two representatives to the GPSA in the fall (see Members page). Professional schools each elect three field representatives. The GPSA meets once a month; members raise the concerns of their constituents and discuss issues under consideration.

In the spring, the graduate GPSA members caucus by area (Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences) to elect a total of fourteen voting members for the following academic year; the three Ithaca-campus professional schools directly elect one voting member each. At the first GPSA meeting in the Fall semester, two Masters-degree seats are elected to that year’s body of voting members. The voting members vote on any issues that require such action at the monthly GPSA business meetings.

The voting members elect the officers, who meet regularly with the Graduate School deans and central university administration, as well as committee chairs and graduate and professional student representatives to the University Assembly.

The assembly system can only be effective if graduate and professional students become involved either directly or through the GPSA or other University committees. See here for a guide on how to get involved or raise issues that are concerning you.

On a national level, the GPSA is affiliated with the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students, which is particularly active in lobbying Congress on behalf of graduate and professional students.

We also attend the Ivy Summit, where we discuss graduate and professional student issues with our counterparts from Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, U. of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale. This conference allows us to compare notes and strategies with our peer institutions. Past hosts of the Summit were Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown. The 2010 Ivy Summit will be held at Princeton University.

Affiliate websites, where appropriate: