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Student self-governance at UNC-Chapel Hill has a long history. It began with the judicial powers related to student conduct held by the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies, which were founded in 1795. In 1904, the Student Council was established and was solely judicial in function. In 1921, the first student body president was elected, replacing the senior class president as head of the Student Council.  The Executive Branch was formed in 1926, followed by the Legislative Branch in 1938. Later developments included the establishment of a student Supreme Court in 1968.

Today, Student Government is divided into two governments: Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG), each with its own Executive Branch, Senate, and Honor System. It exists to advocate for and lift up the voices of UNC-CH students to effect systemic change.  Undergraduate Student Government primarily represents undergraduate students, and the Graduate and Professional Student Government primarily represent graduate and professional students.

In addition to Student Government, other University Sponsored Organizations including the Residence Hall Association, the Carolina Athletic Association, and the Senior Class also serve Carolina students.

The Residence Hall Association (RHA) serves as the representative body of students living on campus. They are committed to enriching and maintaining a comfortable and supportive living and learning community by representing residents’ concerns, offering diverse programming, and providing desirable residence hall enhancements.

The Carolina Athletic Association, or CAA, serves as the liaison between the students and Athletic Department in order to voice athletic concerns and promote UNC-CH varsity sports. They represent the student body’s voice to the Athletic Department.

The Senior Class officers are responsible for fostering class unity, representing the senior class, and building stronger ties between their class and the University, its friends and alumni.



Coates, Albert, and Gladys Hall Coates. The Story of Student Government in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Professor Emeritus Fund, 1985

Student Government. UNC-CH Student Government, ca. 2018-20.

The Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History. UNC Libraries and UNC Center for the Study of the American South, ca. 2006-20.