Student Life Committee

The Committee for Student Life promotes initiatives that increase quality of life for graduate and professional students. This year the Student Life Committee will focus on initiatives that foster wellness, mental health, and diversity and inclusivity. Some of our health and wellness initiatives include the Penn SHAPE program (FREE workout and wellness activities for graduate and professional students link), Wellness Fest, and Penn Grad Run Club (link). The committee also identifies other areas of advocacy with regard to student life on campus. 

Student mental health

GAPSA has worked in collaboration with the Undergraduate Assembly (UA) and University Administration to advocate for the mental health of our students, as well as more directly supporting new initiatives to support the student population's emotional well-being. In 2014, the University convened a Mental Health task force, charged with making recommendations to better meet student needs. This ultimately culminated in an increase of resources to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the formation of a student advisory board. GAPSA served as the primary advocate for graduate student concerns to the University, providing feedback and suggestions to the task force. GAPSA will continue to use student feedback to improve available mental health resources. More recently, GAPSA worked with Penn Wellness, the umbrella group for mental wellness organizations on campus, to ensure graduate student issues were being taken into consideration during its discussions with CAPS. As well, GAPSA spearheaded the creation of the Penn Fanklins, a peer support organization which trains students to be effective peer supporters, and dispatches them to various events as a visible sign that no one is truly alone - that there is always someone they can talk to.

penn shape initiative for student wellness

Through the Penn SHAPE program, GAPSA promotes healthy behaviors amongst graduate students. Penn SHAPE offers a variety of free fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, and running, and in partnership with Campus Health and PennRec, offers workshops on stress reduction, sleep, and other ways to stay physically well.  Learn more here!   

wellness fest and wellness week

Wellness Fest is a biannual program for finals week to provide stress relief to students. Highlights include free massages, cupcake decorating, board games, and a visit with puppies. Wellness Week, its mid-semester counterpart, provides things like apple (or berry) picking, pet therapy, pasta and paint nights, and of course, the ever popular massages.

penn franklins

We are excited to announce the first year of Penn Franklins, a peer-to-peer support option for graduate students! To sign up for a training, email

If you are passionate about promoting wellness, mental health, and diversity initiatives and want to get involved- contact the Chair for Student Life to get involved!


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