The Graduate Student Senate, or GSS, represents the interests of all graduate and professional students at the University of Tennessee. As the official voice of graduate students and professional students, GSS 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), GSS Travel Awards, providing funds to graduate and professional students traveling to conferences to present original work, and a GSS Awards Breakfast, recognizing outstanding graduate and professional students and faculty and staff that support them.
The GSS 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. Furthermore, the GSS 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 GSS president and vice president are elected in the annual Student Government Association elections. 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, GSS senators serve as representatives on various university-wide committees, including the Graduate Council.