GPC Constitution


Governing Document

Graduate Student and Postdoc Council (GPC)

Harvard Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Revised April 20, 2016


To represent and advocate for graduate students and postdocs in Harvard Chemistry laboratories. We aim to achieve this through liaison with the Department, professional development and social opportunities.


All serve a one-year term from July-June, but elected in March

  • President

○      Responsible for ensuring the GPC fulfills its purpose

○      Presides over meetings and provides leadership and as a supportive platform for student and postdoc concerns

○      Takes notes at meetings and relays those notes as minutes of the meeting, within a week after the meeting

○      Appoints special event coordinators (swag, student invited seminars, etc.).

■        In general, soliciting coordinators should be performed over e-mail and only discussed in passing at the month’s meeting.

○      Acts as liaison between GPC members and the Administration/Faculty

○      Meets monthly with the Director of Laboratories to bring concerns forward and learn about the administration’s plans for the department

○      Ensures that all incoming graduate students have this document and other relevant GPC materials in their welcome packets 

○      Ensures that all traditions are handed down (see section below)

○      Manages the GPC Calendar

  • Treasurer

○      Manages the finances of the GPC

○      Records in public budget all expenses incurred by the GPC within a week of their being made

○      Gives a budget report at every GPC meeting

○      Holds a university credit card for GPC expenses

○      Orders food for GPC meetings

  • Programming Chair

○      Ensures that the Department TGIF socials occur and run smoothly

○      Finds lab volunteers to host each TGIF

○      Publicizes TGIFs via e-mail, the GPC calendar and any other ways seen fit

○      Makes sure the hosting lab accommodates medically-based dietary restrictions that have been brought to the GPC’s attention


Any graduate student admitted to a program under the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and any graduate student or postdoc working in the lab of a professor with some appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology is considered a member of the GPC. To have a vote, a GPC member need only be at a meeting where a vote is held, or in absentia by email.


  • TGIFs

○      Alcohol and food every Friday in the summer (June-August) and once a month other months

○      Held outside if possible, inside in the department center or the Bauer lobby if necessary

○      Coordinated by Programming Chair, and hosted by a lab.  The host lab organizes food/drinks and ensures the venue is clean at the end of the evening.

  • GPC Meetings

○      Attendees engage in informal discussion about Department issues

○      Food for the meeting is ordered/organized by the Treasurer

○      Open discussion (aka “Open Griping Time”) at the end of all meetings, where anyone present can bring up an issue, which will then be respectfully discussed. The president will bring up all these issues with the Director of Laboratories at their monthly meeting

○      Volunteers for jobs should not be asked for at meetings, but over e-mail

  • Student Invited Speakers

○      One professor from outside of Harvard will be invited by the students in each subfield

○      Subfields are typically Chemical Biology, Physical, Organic and Inorganic/Materials

○      There will be a student coordinator for each division who arranges the selection, makes the invitation and coordinates all logistics for the visit

○      Nominations will be requested over e-mail (probably best if all seminar categories happen at one time)

○      Nominated professors will then be voted on over e-mail (again, best to happen all at once)

○      Targeted to speak sometime in the Spring semester or later if necessary

  • Swag (Department Merchandise)

○      Annual (or more) department swag design competition and offering

○      Ideally swag should be revenue neutral, but the GPC can vote for a subsidy. 

○      The GPC will not attempt to fundraise off of swag sales.  Rounding price up slightly is allowed to get to a multiple of dollars

  • Transparency

○      Account of the GPC expenses are made in public on an online spreadsheet

○      All meeting minutes will be published to all graduate students and postdocs over e-mail within a week after the meeting occurs

○      All events are posted on a public calendar


  • July

○      New officers begin their terms

  • August (2 meetings)

○      First, normal meeting

■      Discuss welcoming incoming graduate students

■      Make sure GPC documents end up in welcome packet

■      Announce Student Invited Speaker Coordinator search

○      Second meeting: GPC Open House for G0’s

■      Date/time planned around G0 Orientation, before classes start

■      Solicit entries for swag competition

■      Explain upcoming programs

  • September

○      Choose swag winner

○      Choose Student Invited Speaker coordinators

  • October

○      Announce Student Invited Speaker coordinators

○      Solicit Student Invited Speaker nominations

○      Vote on Student Invited Speaker nominations

  • November

○      Normal meeting with old business and open discussion

  • December

○      Normal meeting with old business and open discussion

  • January

○      Normal meeting with old business and open discussion

  • February

○      Budget Proposal and Negotiations

○      Announce elections

  • March

○      New officer elections

  • April

○      Normal meeting with old business and open discussion

  • May

○      Normal meeting with old business and open discussion

  • June

○      Normal meeting with old business and open discussion


  • G-year does not increment until the annual fall department barbecue


This governing document is intended to be fluid, since it incorporates suggestions of best practices. Any GPC member may propose changes to this document during GPC meetings or over e-mail to the GPC President. The President will then send the proposed revision over e-mail to all GPC members before the next GPC meeting. A vote to accept each of the proposed changes will take place the day of the GPC meeting, and members can cast their vote either by email to the President or in person at the meeting. A simple majority of all votes cast is required for the changes to be adopted.