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GPSS allocates $85,000 to SHOP, elects new president

Joseph Dicklin
GPSS Senate Information Officer Garrison Gunter working at his laptop in the Memorial Unions Campanile Room on Feb. 26, 2024 for the February Senate Meeting.

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) closed out the 2023-24 session Monday, seeing five bills, and passing four with unanimous approval. The body also nominated a new executive council.

Wren Bouwman, a graduate student majoring in English, was victorious Monday, securing the role of president for the next academic year. Ceren Ordas, a graduate student majoring in ecology, evolution and organismal biology, was elected to the role of vice president at Monday’s meeting. One incumbent cabinet member, Veronica Kiuna, a graduate student in civil, construction and environmental engineering and current IDEA Officer, will remain in the cabinet for the next academic year.


The GPSS elected the following members to their respective roles:

  • President, Wren Bouwman, English (unopposed)
  • Vice President, Ceren Ordas, ecology, evolution and organismal biology (unopposed)
  • Senate Engagement Officer, Charity Njeshi, biomedical sciences (unopposed)
  • Senate Information Officer, Gaurav Arwade, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering (31 to 14 Benjamin Means)
  • Treasurer, Elijah Bouwman, agricultural and biosystems engineering (unopposed)
  • Wellness Chair, Esther Kim, psychology (unopposed)
  • IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) Officer, Veronica Kiuna, civil, construction and environmental engineering (34 to 7 Kamrun Nahar Keya, 2 abstained)
  • Conference Chair, Alycia West, education (unopposed)

Report from president

President Christine Cain, education, gave an update on the current provost search underway at the university. Of the four candidates, three have visited campus so far. Updates on the candidates and more information regarding the provost search can be found at the Office of the President website.

Other Reports

Other members of the executive council gave short updates. Senate Information Officer Garrison Gunter, chemical and biological engineering, gave an update on multiple topics, including meeting with the graduate college to implement the professional advancement grants system into the new Workday system. Gunter met with the Student Technology Advisory Committee to discuss topics including AI and various resources available to students through ITS. 

Vice President Edward Mahoney, computer science, gave an update as the Senate awaits an update regarding progress on DEI directives from the Board of Regents in its April meeting. Mahoney said they are currently implementing some of the recommendations.

Previously Unfinished Business

Bill S24-10, Introduction of Conference Travel Grants by Coltie on the GPSS Website

The bill would encourage all eligible graduate students to engage with the Coltie platform. The bill faced opposition over concerns of whether GPSS would be “advertising” the app, and whether it sets a negative precedent. The bill ultimately failed with a vote of 3-35-6.

New Business

The Senate took up four new items of business, ultimately passing all four bills, each with unanimous consent.

Bill S24-11, Supporting Hunger Relief: GPSS – SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers) Donation Act

The Senate unanimously passed a bill that will donate $85,000 to SHOP to purchase cold storage units, upgrade the rooms and make the door more secure by adding key card access. According to a wellness survey, 33% of students on campus are food insecure at Iowa State. According to the survey, graduate students are also disproportionately affected by food insecurity. All students can receive items from the pantry, on a merit-basis.

Bill S24-12, Resolution to Support Student Voting on Election Day

In response to the Board of Regents mission statement to “enhance the quality of life for Iowans,” the Senate unanimously passed a bill to, “encourage its students to cast ballots in the 2024 presidential election.” The bill encourages faculty to hold classes asynchronously, wherever feasible, refrain from scheduling exams or major assignments on election day and excuse student absences or tardiness that may result from voting. The bill has been passed by Student Government and Faculty Senate.

Bill S24-13, Articles of Cooperation

The Senate passed the bill, which adopts new articles of cooperation. According to Mahoney, the bill has already passed other chambers of Iowa State’s governing bodies and was needed in order to have one official document. 

“There were like three different copies between GPSS and Student Government and it was unknown which one was the actual governing document,” Mahoney said.

The bill also addresses funding, representation on committees and cancellation policies. The bill passed unanimously.

Bill S24-14, Evidence of serving as a senator in the Graduate and Professional Student Senate

The bill requires the GPSS to put a system in place where an attestation or certificate can be issued for senators for the period during which they served as needed. The bill passed with unanimous support.

The next GPSS meeting will be held in the 2024-25 academic year.

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