2019 - 2020

NAGPS & Legislative Action Days

October 17, 2018

The United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS) at CU Boulder is a legacy member of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS). NAGPS is a student-run national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of graduate & professional students across the United States. Founded by student leaders in 1987, NAGPS is the only national organization that represents the interests of graduate & professional students in public and private universities at local, state, regional and national levels.

Every year, NAGPS hosts Legislative Action Days (LAD) in Washington D.C. At this event, graduate and professional students from across the country travel to D.C. to meet with the NAGPS board and get updates on the legislative priorities identified by the NAGPS annual meeting platform. After meeting with the NAGPS board students meet with members of Congress to share graduate student stories and advocate for legislative priorities.

This last October, UGGS President Sarah Fahmy and UGGS Director of Legislative Affairs Matt Vondrasek attended LAD. Sarah and Matt were able to meet with Congressional staff from Senator Michael Bennet’s Office, Representative Jason Crow’s Office (CO 6th) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO 1st). Matt and Sarah discussed various items with the Congressional Staff including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the Scientific Integrity Act, the STEM Opportunities Act, the Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act, the College Transparency Act, the Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act, the College Student Hunger Act, and the Expanding on Campus Childcare to Help Student Parents Succeed Act.

Sarah and Matt in front of Michael Bennet's office  Sarah and Matt in front of Diana DeGette's office 

 Sarah and Matt standing in front of Jason Crow's office

2018 - 2019

From the Dean of Graduate School: Task force, survey to help improve graduate student experience

Oct. 2, 2018

In our effort to continue to assess and improve your graduate student experience at CU Boulder, I’m writing to let you know of two initiatives the Graduate School is launching in October.

The first initiative is a task force with the United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS) and the Office of Budget and Fiscal Planning to examine graduate student stipends and benefits. We understand the financial challenges graduate students face and are proud of our recent accomplishments to improve the pay schedule and increase the graduate student stipend rate. The task force will look more deeply into how these stipend rates compare with our AAU public peers and examine the feasibility of various options for enhanced benefits.

Joining me on this task force are Juan García Oyervides, Sarah Fahmy, Jesse Niebaum, and Varsha Rao from United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS); Luke Anderson from Budget and Fiscal Planning; Stephen Vassallo from the Office of Data Analytics; and Gretchen O’Connell, senior assistant dean of the Graduate School. The task force will meet regularly throughout the fall semester, with plans for reporting recommendations during the spring of 2019.

The second initiative is a survey that addresses several aspects of the graduate student experience, focusing on two key factors in particular: funding and academic advising/mentorship. We plan to provide initial results of the survey by the end of the fall semester and deeper analysis during the spring of 2019.

As these initiatives are launched and the semester continues, I encourage you to route any concerns you may have through UGGS, whose leadership team I meet with regularly. In doing so, we can work more closely and efficiently together as a team in addressing issues and answering questions to the benefit of the entire graduate student community.

I appreciate all that you contribute to our campus and community, and I wish you the best throughout the fall semester.



Ann Schmiesing
Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs


Launch party and official constitution signing for the Colorado Federation for Graduate Students (CFGS)

On Saturday, September 29, UGGS hosted the launch party for the Colorado Federation for Graduate Students (CFGS). The foundation for the federation was established during the most recent Western Regional National Association of Graduate & Professional Students (NAGPS) conference hosted by CU Boulder. CFGS is recognized by the NAGPS. Colorado universities decided to form this Colorado federation because when the big issues of last academic year arose--the proposed tax bill, DACA, the PROSPER Act--we would have benefited from a statewide support network. Going forward, we will work together to advocate for and support the needs of graduate students across the state of Colorado. And nothing like this exists elsewhere in the country! Our founding members are CU Boulder, DU, Colorado School of Mines, Anschutz, CSU. UGGS was joined by representatives from the Governor's Office and members of the press. The afternoon consisted of an information session, followed by a panel discussion featuring representatives from different universities in conversation with the audience, then an official signing of the CFGS constitution by graduate student government presidents. For more information about the Colorado Federation for Graduate Students please contact uggsinfo@colorado.edu


2017 - 2018

Summer RTD Passes

The following is a message from Gretchen O'Connell, Senior Assistant Dean of the Graduate School. We are happy and proud to have worked toward this solution for two years, advocating on your behalf. We look forward to continuing to engage on this issue and refining this solution in the future.

"I am pleased to announce that effective summer 2018 term all graduate students holding active CU Boulder student faculty appointments (GA, RA, TA, GPTI, but this does not include hourly employed students) during the summer will have continued use of their RTD pass – at no additional cost. The summer pass will be considered as part of the compensation package for these positions.

In late May reports will be generated listing all students who have summer appointments entered into HCM – this is the list that will be used to ensure that their bus passes remain valid. Therefore, even if a student’s appointment will not begin until a later summer session it would be helpful to have summer appointments entered as early as possible.  If an appointment is not entered into HCM until a later date the pass may be temporarily deactivated until the appointment is entered. For students who are working as student faculty and enrolled during the summer term the RTD transportation fee will be waived. They may see it appear on their summer bill in May, but please let them know that they are not responsible for paying the fee. 

The Graduate School is delighted that we have arrived at a positive solution to this issue and we appreciate your assistance in spreading the word to your students. I am happy to answer any questions."


Gretchen S. O'Connell, Ed.M.
Senior Assistant Dean


Statement from UGGS Leadership on the Proposed Changes to CUSG Funding

The principles of collegiality and shared governance are fundamental to the United Government of Graduate Students. We stand firmly by these ideals as the only way to a productive collaboration between the different college constituencies.

We urge the CU Boulder Administration and the leadership of CUSG to act in the best interest of the CU Boulder community, to recognize the needs of all undergraduate and graduate students, and to reflect upon the events that have brought the campus to this situation. We invite CUSG leaders and the Chancellor’s Office to engage the graduate student community and to collaborate with us as the conversation progresses.

This past week's events have brought confusion and uncertainty that has affected our fellow undergraduate and graduate students alike. We call upon our campus leadership to engage in a sincere and respectful conversation that encourages all stakeholders to participate.

Today, we have the opportunity to strengthen our campus institutions. We must take actions to reaffirm the value of student engagement, and reinstate our commitment to responsible oversight of resources, and their fair distribution.
Disclaimer: The plan to reduce financial oversight of CUSG, as appeared on the Chancellor's statement, identifies our group as a financial beneficiary of this change. The statement also suggested a plan to formalize the distinction between our two groups. We currently do not have details about this proposal.
Although financial resources are very necessary, UGGS is not motivated by them. Our organization has one clear goal: the enrichment of all graduate and professional students’ experience at CU.


UGGS is proud to host the annual Western Regional National Association of Graduate - Professional Students (NAGPS) conference in Boulder, CO this year. April 13-14, 2018. 

NAGPS is a student-run national, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of graduate & professional students across the United States.  Founded by student leaders in 1987, NAGPS is the only national organization that represents the interests of graduate & professional students in public and private universities at local, state, regional and national levels.The University of Colorado Boulder is a Legacy Member of the NAGPS Western Region. 

This year, graduate student government leaders from 17 different universities in the Western Region are invitited to join us in Boulder to address accountability and graduate student concerns, as well as share best practices. 

For more information about NAGPS please check their website: www.nagps.org

Click here to check the conference schedule