Graduate Student Groups

Student Governance

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) serves as the official voice for the approximately 13,000 graduate and professional students at Penn. GAPSA is also responsible for administering graduate student activity fees, providing resources for travel grants, research support, and other activities throughout the year.

In addition to GAPSA, 12 School Governments handle school-specific issues, activity funding, and serve as school representatives within GAPSA:  

Start Your Own Student Group

 If you don't find a graduate and professional student organization to fit your interests, create your own! Penn has several resources to help you:

The Office of Student Affairs is the primary source of information and advice about co-curricular opportunities and resources. Staff members assist students in a myriad of ways, including providing information on how to organize a new student organization, and what resources are available for student organizations.

In addition to providing meeting and event space to graduate student groups, the Grad Center maintains a list of other spaces on campus for graduate student use. 

Resources for Student Groups & Events

Plan an Event

This presentation on how to plan awesome events and event planning checklist will be helpful to your organization.

As you plan events, you must adhere to all State and University  pregulations for graduate student organizations. This includes registering your event with the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives (AOD). You are liable for what happens at the event, legally and according to the University Policy. 

Please note that your organization cannot charge for any event at which alcohol will be served. This is a state law, not Penn policy so you cannot charge students to get into a happy hour. Basically, your organization always has to provide the alcohol for free or else go through a vendor who has a license to sell alcohol (like a bar or restaurant). If you have any questions about alcohol policies, please contact Noelle Melartin from the Office of Alcohol & Other Drug Program Initiatives at melartin@upenn.edu

Funding for Student Groups

GAPSA Events & Initiatives Funding supports a range of student events and initiatives run by student organizations at Penn across all 12 graduate schools.

The Grad Center Community Impact Fund was designated by the Provost's Office to support graduate student initiatives and activities that build a community of mutual respect and intercultural understanding on campus. In particular, activities that address racial, cultural, or gender-based bias are to be supported with this fund.

Campaign for Community grants support programming that promotes understanding of and respect for multiple points of view on important topics related to the University community; encourages dialogue and discussion among members of the community about issues with the potential for difference and disagreement; and creates opportunities for all members of the University's community to participate in conversations about important topics.

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center administers funds designed to assist Penn student groups and individuals in sponsoring on-campus events, especially those fostering collaboration among LGBTQ+ groups.

Penn Theme Year Grants are designed to encourage students, faculty and staff to create programming that relates to the Theme Year topic.

The Perry World House Partnership Grant Fund provides small grants for events and programs on Penn's campus that advance inter-disciplinary conversations on issues of international concern.

The Trustees' Council of Penn Women grant is available to individuals or organization that promote women's issues, the quality of undergraduate and graduate life for women, the institutional advancement of women, or the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of women.

Many schools at Penn have funding to invest in programming that supports diversity efforts, academic initiatives, etc. Check with your school's administration to see what is available!

Plan an Event

This presentation on how to plan awesome events and event planning checklist will be helpful to your organization.

As you plan events, you must adhere to all State and University  pregulations for graduate student organizations. This includes registering your event with the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives (AOD). You are liable for what happens at the event, legally and according to the University Policy. 

Please note that your organization cannot charge for any event at which alcohol will be served. This is a state law, not Penn policy so you cannot charge students to get into a happy hour. Basically, your organization always has to provide the alcohol for free or else go through a vendor who has a license to sell alcohol (like a bar or restaurant). If you have any questions about alcohol policies, please contact Noelle Melartin from the Office of Alcohol & Other Drug Program Initiatives at melartin@upenn.edu

Funding for Student Groups

GAPSA Events & Initiatives Funding supports a range of student events and initiatives run by student organizations at Penn across all 12 graduate schools.

The Grad Center Community Impact Fund was designated by the Provost's Office to support graduate student initiatives and activities that build a community of mutual respect and intercultural understanding on campus. In particular, activities that address racial, cultural, or gender-based bias are to be supported with this fund.

Campaign for Community grants support programming that promotes understanding of and respect for multiple points of view on important topics related to the University community; encourages dialogue and discussion among members of the community about issues with the potential for difference and disagreement; and creates opportunities for all members of the University's community to participate in conversations about important topics.

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center administers funds designed to assist Penn student groups and individuals in sponsoring on-campus events, especially those fostering collaboration among LGBTQ+ groups.

Penn Theme Year Grants are designed to encourage students, faculty and staff to create programming that relates to the Theme Year topic.

The Perry World House Partnership Grant Fund provides small grants for events and programs on Penn's campus that advance inter-disciplinary conversations on issues of international concern.

The Trustees' Council of Penn Women grant is available to individuals or organization that promote women's issues, the quality of undergraduate and graduate life for women, the institutional advancement of women, or the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of women.

Many schools at Penn have funding to invest in programming that supports diversity efforts, academic initiatives, etc. Check with your school's administration to see what is available!