Graduate student groups and student leadership are an integral part of Washington University’s shared governance tradition and vital graduate community.  Graduate students interested in forming a graduate student group or to use the Washington University name in any way to operate on the Washington University campus, must apply to register as a graduate student organization.

Graduate and professional students at Washington University in St. Louis may register their student groups in one of two ways.

1) School-based student groups whose mission and activities cater exclusively (or primarily) to the students of a specific school should register locally in that school through procedures set forth by their school’s graduate student association (GSA) or Dean’s office.


2) University-wide student groups whose mission and interests are primarily involved in cross-disciplinary activities should register through the Graduate Professional Council (GPC), which is the university graduate student association, and the Professional and Graduate Student Coordinating Committee (ProGradS), which is the University standing committee on graduate student matters.  These are the groups to which this pages refers.

The following section addresses the process for starting and requesting registration approval as a university-wide Washington University graduate student group through ProGradS and GPC, followed by information to assist your group with start-up logistics and annual registration renewal:

  1. New Group Registration Requirements

Note: Graduate and professional students interested in starting a new university-wide graduate student group are encouraged to schedule an informal informational meeting with the ProGradS liaison and GPC president.

  • Membership must be open to all graduate and professional students of the University (See Exhibit A below).
  • The name and purpose of the group must be consistent with the mission of Washington University and its policies (See Exhibit A below).
  • There must be at least 15 current and active members.
  • At least 80% of current members must be WU graduate or professional students. No more than 40% of the members may come from any one school.
  • There must be a formal constitution for the group, approved by the members and the leadership of the group. Please see Exhibit B for key points to consider and address when drafting your document.  Also, samples of such documents can be found on the GPC website and registered university-wide graduate student groups.
  • All groups approved for full status must submit an annual summary including an overview of activities during the previous year and a final budget report by June 1, and a renewal of group registration, including new officers’ names, positions, and contact information and proposed activities plan and budget, before fall classes begin, or by June 30 if university funding is requested. (See Step 2 above).


Exhibit A:  Washington University Mission Statement

The mission of Washington University in St. Louis is to act in service of truth through the formation of leaders, the discovery of knowledge and the treatment of patients for the betterment of our region, our nation and our world.

At WashU, we generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge. We foster freedom of inquiry and expression of ideas in our research, teaching and learning.

We aim to create an environment that encourages and supports wide-ranging exploration at the frontier of discovery by embracing diverse perspectives from individuals of all identities and backgrounds. We promote higher education and rigorous research as a fundamental component of an open, vibrant society. We strive to enhance the lives and livelihoods not only of our students, patients, and employees but also of the people of the greater St. Louis community and beyond. We do so by addressing scientific, social, economic, medical, and other challenges in the local, national, and international realms.

Our goals are:
  • to foster excellence and creativity in our teaching, research, scholarship, patient care and service
  • to welcome students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds to create an inclusive, equitable community that is nurturing and intellectually rigorous
  • to cultivate in students habits of lifelong learning and critical and ethical thinking, thereby enabling them to be productive members and leaders of a global society
  • to contribute positively to our home community of St. Louis, and to effect meaningful, constructive change in our world
To this end we intend:
  • to hold ourselves to the highest standards of excellence
  • to educate aspiring leaders of great ability from diverse backgrounds
  • to encourage faculty and students to be innovative, bold, independent, critical thinkers
  • to build an inclusive, equitable, respectful, ethically-principled environment for living, teaching, learning and working for the present and future generations
  • to focus on meaningful and measurable outcomes for all of our endeavors


Mission Statement

University Non-Discrimination Statement

Washington University encourages and gives full consideration to all applicants for admission, financial aid, and employment.  The University does not discriminate in access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, veteran status, or disability.  Present Department of Defense policy governing all ROTC programs discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation; such discrimination is inconsistent with Washington University policy.  Inquiries about compliance should be addressed to the University’s Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, Washington University, Campus Box 1184, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130.

Non-Discrimination Statement


Exhibit B:  Guidelines for Drafting Constitution/By-laws

Define the organization’s mission and impact clearly and succinctly, including primary and ancillary mission identification.  Provide examples of the type and nature of expected programs and activities.

Define the expected membership clearly, including both the voting (core) members as well as potential non-voting participants (example: associate members might include post docs, spouses/partners, etc.)

Define organizational leadership in terms of:

  • Who qualifies to run for office
  • How will the election be held (specific election plan and process)
  • Identify at least two specific leadership positions (president and treasurer) and leave room for others as needed

Define the nomination process, notifications, and necessary lead times

Scope of authority for the leadership team

Define succession planning for leadership in terms of:

  • Length of term for elected offices
  • Limitations on successive terms in office (if any)
  • Timing of elections (strongly encourage March/April)
  • Methodology of elections – in-person, on-line, electronic, etc. (all methods should be private)
  • Define the necessary lead time and notifications process

Define your organizations operating processes in terms of:

  • General membership meetings: timing, frequency, notification
  • Executive leadership meetings: timing frequency, notification, agenda, reporting out the membership
  • Communication and notification process for group sponsored activities, events, etc.
  • Define and identify the specific procedures for changing the construction of Bylaws of the organization

A few general and common sense tips:

  • Keep it as simple as possible while achieving your goals
  • Do not overly define areas that do not require such definition – leave room for growth and change within the rules as they exist
  • For examples, look at the sample sections from constitutions of generally tried and tested constitutions and organization structures at WU.
  • When in doubt, ask for help from the GPC, ProGradS, and particularly the Organizational Advisory Committee


2. Process to Request Registration Approval for a New Group

A)Provisional Status

To register as a university graduate student group, interested graduate student group members should initiate an application and review process through the GPC.  Applications should be directed to the GPC President, and must be received at least 7-10 days prior to the next general body GPC meeting date in order to be reviewed.  Applications will be reviewed by the GPC within two monthly meetings with the understanding that it is preferable to review applications as soon as possible. The GPC (GPC executive board members and school representatives) will vote on the acceptance or denial of each group’s registration. A majority vote of those present or voting in absentia will suffice. However, quorum is required for this vote.

Groups approved will be recommended to the ProGradS Committee for Provisional Status registration for a period of time not to exceed one year.  Once ProGradS confirms provisional registration, the group may reserve on-campus space, utilize campus facilities, apply for email accounts, and carry on activities, including internal fund raising (example: member dues; not external fundraising) to support their efforts during this period.  The leadership of a newly registered group should meet as soon as possible with the ProGradS Liaison to complete registration; during the semester of initial approval, also plan to meet with  the Organizational Advisory Committee (which is comprised of GPC and ProGradS members) to develop organizational logistics.


B) Full Status

After the group has been approved for Provisional Status, has met with the Organizational Advisory Committee, and has operated for at least one semester and presented a group activity report, the GPC will review and recommend the group to the ProGradS Committee for approval of Full Status.  If ProGradS votes to approve, the group will be considered fully registered at that time. If ProGradS voices concerns over the registration of any group (s), GPC will review the application (s) of said group (s) at their next regular meeting. If GPC votes to resubmit the registration (with or without additional information) ProGradS will reconsider the application at their next regular meeting.  Full status registration qualifies groups for access to additional Washington University social networking media, and ability to develop additional funding, including external fundraising (within University guidelines) and university funding through the ProGradS Committee chair.  (See Services Section)


C) Annual Renewal of Registration

Group registration must be renewed annually, no later than June 1, by submitting an end-of-the-year annual report of activities and budget report; and a proposed activities plan and budget for the upcoming year.  Forms should be submitted to the ProGradS Liaison who will administer follow-ups with accountant, GPC, and ProGradS committees.

ProGradS Approved: September 14, 2006

GPC Approved: September 11, 2006