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Student Organization Governing Bodies

Student Government Association

2211 Dunford Hall

The Student Government Association is a body composed of students pursuing the betterment of this institution so that all members of the university community are beneficiaries of the opportunities and advantages available in an environment conducive to growth. Members of SGA work as resources and advocates for students to ensure effective representation of students’ thoughts, ideas, and concerns about campus and community affairs.

There are seven branches within the Student Government Association: the Executive Branch, the Undergraduate Student Senate, the First-Year Council, the Judicial Branch, and Student Services and Administrative Committees. The Executive Branch consists of the president, vice president, student services director, and other members of the Executive Cabinet. All legislative and executive decisions are made in consultation with and subject to final actions and decisions by the chancellor and his cabinet, the president, and the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee.

Student Senate

The Student Government Association’s Student Senate is a governing body of more than sixty undergraduate students that represent the interests and well-being of all students at the University of Tennessee. Each academic college and residential area has representatives elected by their fellow students in the annual Student Government Association elections, which are held each spring. In addition, there are ten at-large seats within the Student Senate. The Senate participates in the establishment of policies and regulations regarding areas of primary interest to student members of the university community including, but not limited to, those related to academics, the regulation of student conduct, student housing, food services, student activities and organizations, nonacademic student facilities, and disciplinary appeal procedures. Senators serving on Student Services Committees may be nominated and elected by the Senate to serve as liaisons where they will promote effective legislation. Senate meetings are held biweekly and are open for all students to attend.

Student Academic Seats (30 seats)

Herbert College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources—2 persons elected
College of Architecture & Design—1 person elected
College of Arts & Sciences—10 persons elected
Haslam College of Business—7 persons elected
College of Communication & Information—2 persons elected
College of Education, Health & Human Sciences—4 persons elected
Tickle College of Engineering—4 persons elected
College of Nursing—1 person elected
College of Social Work—1 person elected

Student Residential Seats (20 seats)

West—3 persons elected
East—3 persons elected
Central—2 persons elected
Off Campus—10 persons elected
Fraternity Park—1 person elected
Sorority Village—1 person elected

At Large Members (8 seats)


First-Year Council

First Year Council is composed of sixty members of the entering class at the University of Tennessee. These members are selected each year by a screening committee chosen by the student body vice president. It represents the needs, concerns, and interests of first-time students at The University of Tennessee. The council exists to provide a forum to voice freshman opinions; to participate in student government and campus-wide activities; to inform first-year students of all the operations of the SGA; and to communicate freshman concerns directly to the SGA. The group works on legislative issues concerning the freshman class, as well as planning and participating in various philanthropic and social events throughout the year.

Student Services

The Student Services branch of SGA is composed of ninecommittees that focus on the many facets of university life. These committees are a great way for all students to get involved with SGA. With biweekly meetings, they are able to coordinate and implement many programs and events on campus and in the Knoxville community. The seven committees are as follows:

  • Academic Affairs
    The primary focus of the Academic Affairs Committee is to research and resolve student concerns regarding academics (requirements, policy, disputes, etc.) at the university by working closely with the deans of each college, the Office of the Provost, and various other faculty, staff, and administrative boards. A goal of Academic Affairs for the current school year is to dive into the university’s Vol Vision for the Top 25 Initiative. Academic Affairs will be charged with researching, managing, and spearheading ways to improve the university through Vol Vision 2020. The committee is also focused on finding feasible solutions to fees that are associated with academics, such as the implementation of Open Educational Resources (OER), or free online textbooks, into courses across campus.
  • Diversity Affairs
    The Diversity Affairs Committee is dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment within the UT community by educating about diversity in its complexities and exposing students to new experiences. The committee strives to be responsive to the needs of civility and cultural awareness on campus by offering various programs that embrace differences, celebrate unity, and commit to social justice.
  • Environment & Sustainability
    The Environment and Sustainability Student Services Committee (E&S) is dedicated to environmental advocacy opportunities, ecological and social sustainability initiatives, and change-making campaigns to promote awareness, stewardship, and action on campus and in the Knoxville community. As part of the Student Government Association, the committee also implements effective policy on a wide range of issues to ensure a lasting impact.
  • Government Affairs
    The Government Affairs committee participates in a variety of activities to increase on-campus political engagement and open discussion with local and state elected officials. The committee serves an advocacy group for the student body and travels to the state capitol each year to discuss university and student concerns. Government Affairs has hosted a variety of forums, debates, and voter registration drives. In the past, the committee has advocated for the student body in Nashville regarding a wide variety of issues including student fees, HOPE requirements, and capital funding projects. The committee is committed ensuring that the voice of the students is heard by our state’s elected officials.
  • Health & Wellness
    The primary goal of the Health and Wellness Committee is to encourage positive healthy behaviors and to create healthy environments for our campus community by distributing information to students, raising awareness of campus resources, and advocating for related university policy changes. The committee actively partners with offices on campus such as the Center for Health Education and Wellness in order to actively engage a wide-range of student health related topics.
  • New Student Life
    The New Student Life Committee focuses on students new to the university, whether that be freshmen or transfer students. The committee strives to better connect these students to the university, as well as inform them of any resources or strategies in order to be successful at UT. While partnering with several different organizations and offices on campus, the committee works to create of engaged and involved students who continue their education in areas outside of the classroom.
  • Smokey’s Closet
    Smokey’s Closet is a free, professional clothing closet for UT students.
  • Technology Services
    The Technology Services Committee is responsible for collecting student feedback about the various services provided by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) while working to raise awareness about the different hardware and software resources available to students. The committee also works with different technology vendors—including Microsoft and Cisco—to bring representatives to campus so that they can promote their products to students. Members work directly with the OIT management in order to influence future decisions that will affect all students. Some members selected for this committee may also have the opportunity to serve on the Technology Advisory Board, which is responsible for determining how the student technology fees should be spent.
  • Traditions
    The Traditions Student Services Committee is responsible for preserving and revitalizing traditions at UT while at the same time creating new ones for the volunteer community to embrace. The committee holds many outreach events throughout the school year and works in conjunction with other offices and student organizations on campus to engage UT students in some of the university’s most celebrated traditions. The committee continues to connect students to the university’s past, while inspiring the university’s future.

Graduate and Professional Student Association

The Graduate and Professional Student Association, or GPSA, represents the interests of all graduate and professional students at the University of Tennessee. As the official voice of graduate and professional students, GPSA provides the opinion of the graduate student body to administrators and works towards the betterment of the graduate and professional student experience on campus. In addition, GSS has partnerships with various organizations and departments on campus to provide valuable programming for graduate and professional students, including Graduate Student Appreciation Week (GPSAW), GPSA Travel Awards, providing funds to graduate and professional students traveling to conferences to present original work, and a GPSA Awards Breakfast, recognizing outstanding graduate and professional students and faculty and staff that support them.

The GPSA participates in the establishment of policies and regulations relating to the graduate program, in consultation with and subject to the final approval of the dean of the Graduate School and university officials. The GPSA also makes recommendations to appropriate decision-making officers in matters concerning graduate and professional students. Each academic department offering a graduate or professional degree elects a representative to serve in the senate; the GPSA president and vice president are elected in the GPSA. The voting membership of the GSS consists of the president and vice president plus representatives from each academic graduate program, the College of Law, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition to internal strategic planning and legislative committees, GPSA senators serve as representatives on various university-wide committees, including the Graduate Council.

Sorority and Fraternity Life

Interfraternity Council (IFC)

The Interfraternity Council is the governing body of the 19 social fraternities at UT. . The chapter president or assigned delegate from each fraternity or associate organization, as well as the vice presidents of the IFC Executive Board, make up the legislative body of the council, which meets biweekly and has the responsibility of determining policies relative to chapter relations, community programs, scholarship, philanthropy, recruitment, and financial decisions of the council.

National Pan-Hellenic Council

The purpose and mission of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), commonly known as “The Divine 9” or “D9,” is  “Unanimity of thought and action as far as possible in the conduct of Greek letter collegiate fraternities and sororities, and to consider problems of mutual interest to its member organizations.” The council lives by the values of culture, diversity, inclusion, academic achievement, community service, leadership, and lifetime brotherhood/sisterhood. NPHC at UT represents 8 of the 9 chapters, where each active chapter represented provides insight and direction on matters related to the council. Policies and standards related to membership intake and chapter management are advised through Office of Sorority Life NPHC advisor who works in conjunctions with NPHC members, alumni advisors, and organization’s state/regional/national administration.

Multicultural Greek Council (MGC)

The Multicultural Greek Council  is the governing body to UT’s culturally-based, but not culturally-exclusive, sororities and fraternities. MGC is united by their aspirations to increase cultural awareness, provide space for diversity/inclusion, serve various communities through service/educational related programs, and maintain high academic standards. Elected members and/or representatives have the ability to work with the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life MGC advisor in assessing policies related to membership and chapter management that align with the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and their respective national headquarters.

Panhellenic Council

The Panhellenic Council at the University of Tennessee is the governing body of the 13 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities at UT . The Panhellenic Council strives to create the best possible college experience for all of its members and member organizations by operating under its core ideology: promote the positive, develop women, and create an environment of unity and fairness. The Panhellenic Council holds weekly meetings in order to best serve the community by planning educational, philanthropic, academic, and other events for the campus and community.