In 1989, the Princeton Graduate Student Union was created through a referendum among all graduate students to provide a unifying voice to express graduate student concerns to the Princeton administration. The GSU organization set the precedent for the representative system currently in use. Every graduate department, academic program and recognized graduate student group is represented in the Assembly by a student representative. The GSU also became a sponsor of social events geared towards graduate students. Over two-thirds of the budget from student fees goes directly towards subsidizing special events for students, ranging from film series and information sessions to holiday parties and summer barbecues.
In October of 1999, the GSU changed its name to become the Graduate Student Government. This change highlighted the organization’s representative character and growingly active role in shaping University policy through appointments to University decision-making bodies. The original constitution of the Graduate Student Union was adopted in 1989. It was amended on numerous occasions, the last being in October 1999, when the name of the organization was changed. In November of 1999, the U-Council amended its charter to allow graduate students, through the GSG Assembly, the right to elect their own representatives to the Council, and members of the Council’s Executive Committee. The GSG Assembly also acquired the right to make nominations for the other committees of the U-Council, including the Priorities Committee, which makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees each January on the allocation of the University’s operating budget, and the Rights and Rules Committee, which sets codes of conduct for the University and its students, faculty, and administration. In October of 2000, the graduate student body ratified a new GSG Constitution, adding for the first time a set of by-laws to grant the GSG the flexibility to fully embrace these new responsibilities and actively respond to future ones.