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2024 GSSE Student Handbook

2024 GSSE Format Information

The 2024 GSSE program will be held in-person on the beautiful campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

GSSE Student Handbook

The Governor’s School for the Sciences and Engineering (GSSE) is an enrichment program for outstanding students from Tennessee high schools who seek advanced study in the sciences, mathematics and engineering. Students will be challenged to work independently, with appropriate guidance. Students accepted into this program are expected to display very high standards of scholarship, desire for learning, reliability, and deportment. The Tennessee Governor’s Scholars are registered students of The University of Tennessee and guests of the State of Tennessee.

Over one hundred high school juniors and seniors are selected from all over the State of Tennessee to participate in this learning program. Students are accepted on the basis of high school grades, nominations, recommendations, and personal statements of background and interests.

We will be happy to talk with you about the different aspects of your stay at GSSE. Please feel free to contact us.

Pre-College Research Excellence Programs
UT Visitors Center
1502 Cumberland Avenue, Suite 282
Knoxville, TN 37996

GSSE Website

GSSE Facebook

Sunday, June 2, 2024
11:00–3:00 PM Check-in
4:00 PM Opening Ceremony at Cox Auditorium 
(Students who arrive after 3:45 pm may check in after the opening ceremony.)
Saturday, June 29, 2024
9:00–11:00 am Check out of residence hall


Residence Hall Information

GSSE Students will stay in Geier  Hall, a pod style and apartment style residence hall. Pods include several double-occupancy rooms and shared
bathrooms located within the pod. Apartment style rooms feature four
bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen and living room.

Geier Hall is located adjacent to Robinson Hall, sharing a common courtyard to be used for collaborative programming between the buildings. Designed with the student in mind, Geier Hall features spacious multi-purpose and activity rooms, hang-out and study areas on each floor, and a traditions-based residence environment.

Your dorm key must be turned in at checkout, so be careful with the key to
your room, the University has a standard $30.00 charge for lost keys and
cannot be responsible for theft or damage to students’ possessions. Students
should remember to lock their doors each time they leave their rooms in order
to protect their belongings and those of their roommates. Students will be
responsible for the fee to replace a lost key.

Directions to Geier Hall

The address for Geier Hall is:
858 Twentieth St., Knoxville, TN 37996
Front Desk: 865-974-4774

Campus map and directions

Main Campus

Students are not to leave the UT campus and the corridor to Geier Hall, except by prior permission of the GSSE Director. You will be given a map showing the boundaries. After 8:00 p.m., students may not be in restaurants or other establishments along Cumberland Avenue (“The Strip”) unless accompanied by GSSE staff.

For their own safety, students should walk only in groups of two or more any time they are out of the residence hall after dinner time. Be especially careful of traffic on Cumberland Avenue. There have been a few accidents in past years caused by automobiles striking pedestrians crossing Cumberland Avenue. Cross only at intersections and observe crossing signals.

A curfew has been established both for the safety of the students and to help them develop responsibility. On weekday nights (Sunday through Thursday), all students are to be in the residence hall by 10:00 p.m., and in their individual room by 11:00 pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, students need to be in the residence hall by 11:00 p.m., and in their room by midnight. Students will check in with the resident assistant on duty by 10:00 p.m. (11:00 p.m. on weekends) to verify that they are in the building. After checking in, students are not to leave the building, and after midnight students are not to leave their suites until the next morning at 5:30 am.

Due to the full schedule of activities planned for the Governor’s School students and their safety, we must ask that parents and friends abide by a “no outside visitors”. Friends and other unauthorized visitors will not be permitted in classes, in the residence hall, or on any trips or other activities of the School.

When you check in, you will receive a Governor’s School Special Functions Identification Card. This I.D. authorizes your presence on campus. Please carry it with you at all times – there is a $30.00 charge to replace lost ID’s. It will be required for meals, to check out books from the library, to gain access to swimming and other athletic facilities, and to be admitted to certain cultural events.

The University is a safe community, with well lit routes, and many students on campus even during the summer. We still advise that students walk in groups of two or more any time they are out of the residence hall after dinner time. Be especially careful of traffic on Cumberland Avenue.  Cross only at intersections and observe crossing signals. It is important that parents and students familiarize themselves with all rules and policies. A thorough understanding and cooperation by students and parents will help to ensure the smooth operation of the GSSE Program.

If ever you are feeling unsafe, please contact any GSSE Program staff or use a Emergency Blue Phone.

GSSE offers students (5) college credit hours upon completion of the program.
All Governor’s School courses abide by the rigorous academic standards of the
University of Tennessee. The GSSE Director, faculty and staff are committed to
providing a quality academic program, and the academic and personal support
necessary for every student to succeed.

The UT Board of Trustees determines certain standards of conduct that apply to students. Students are expected to follow the University standards of conduct, as well as rules that pertain only to Governor’s School students. The complete list of Standards of Conduct is available in Hilltopics. We ask that you particularly note the Standards of Conduct listed below.

University Standards of Conduct

The following are unacceptable acts in the University community and may result in immediate expulsion of anyone committing any of these acts.

  1. Vandalism, malicious destruction, damage, or misuse of private or public property, including library materials.
  2. Physical abuse of any person on University owned or controlled property or at University sponsored or supervised functions, or conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.
  3. Use and/or possession, (or being under the influence) of alcohol, marijuana or any narcotic, stimulant, or hallucinogenic drug. This is in violation of state or federal law while on University owned or controlled property or at University sponsored or supervised events.
  4. Possession, while on University owned or controlled property or supervised activities, of any weapon such as, but not limited to, rifles, shotguns, ammunition, handguns, and air guns, including explosives, such as firecrackers.

Governor’s School Standards of Conduct

Violation of any of these standards will result in the Director and staff taking appropriate disciplinary action.

  1. GSSE students are expected to behave responsibly at all times and show respectful concern for other members of the Governor’s School and larger university community. Students are expected to exercise conscionable judgment in all their actions toward individuals and their property.
  2. GSSE Students are expected to use only the University facilities appropriate for participation in the Governor’s School. Off limits to Governor’s School students are: (a) all fraternity or sorority houses, (b) residence halls other than Geier Hall, (c) classrooms or other places used by other programs on campus, and (d) floors in Geier Hall assigned to scholars of the opposite gender, (e) university clubs, (f) intermural sports, and (g) club sports.
  3. GSSE students are expected to attend all scheduled activities and events. Any absences will be reported to the Program Director, and flagrant unauthorized absence will result in dismissal from the program.
  4. Repeated failure to complete classroom assignments and projects on time is cause for dismissal from the program.
  5. GSSE students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity in all their class work.
  6. Leaving campus for a local destination is, in most instances, not permitted. Students will NOT be excused from the Governor’s School to visit relatives, attend family vacations, competitive sports or extracurricular activities, etc. In the event of BONA FIDE emergencies, students will be released with the authorization of the GSSE Director. The parent or guardian must contact the GSSE Director to authorize release of the student and to identify who will pick up the student.
  7. Smoking and use of smokeless tobacco including vaping is prohibited during the Governor’s School.
  8. Students will not be permitted to use a car while enrolled in GSSE. There will be no need for an automobile because all activities on campus are within walking distance of the residence hall, and transportation for special events is provided by the Governor’s School.
  9. Each student will receive a University of Tennessee Net ID. You may not give your password to anyone else or allow anyone else to use your account unless specifically authorized by the GSSE Director. You must also adhere to all computer science department regulations, especially the code of ethics.

Governor’s School COVID-19 Policies

The 2024 GSSE policies related to COVID-19 will be developed closer to the event as many aspects of the pandemic are rapidly changing.  There are currently no mask requirements on campus.  However, as you know, COVID-19 cases ebb and flow and restrictions could be reinstated at any time given the status of COVID-19 on our campus. Flexibility and preparedness is key. Please check back for updated policies. Our goal is to keep all students safe!


The Department of Residence Halls has established a uniform set of regulations for the safety and comfort of all people in the residence halls. As members of the university community this summer, students are expected to adhere to these regulations.

  1. Room assignments have been made with our best judgment. Room changes cannot be made without the GSSE Director’s approval.
  2. Windows are not to be opened. Objects may not be thrown out of residence hall windows.
  3. Pets are not permitted in the halls.
  4. Residents are expected to show consideration for others at all times and to avoid excessive noise.
  5. It is the responsibility of each resident to personally maintain the assigned room. The room must be cleaned before checking out. Bathrooms will be cleaned once a week by UT housing staff. Students are required to furnish their own towels and bed linens.
  6. Items which are flammable (fuel, etc.) may not be stored in resident’s rooms. Items which require an open flame to operate (such as lighted candles, incense, Bunsen burners, or alcohol burners) or which produce heat (such as hot plates or popcorn poppers) are not allowed in resident’s rooms.
  7. Students are not permitted to use nails, tacks, or screws in the walls or woodwork.

In any emergency situation, students should notify campus security immediately. The UT Police Department operates on a 24-hour basis. A police dispatcher is always available to take information or full reports. The University operates a telephone system, which provides expanded emergency service to the university community. All 911 calls placed on campus telephones are routed to the Knoxville E-911 emergency dispatch center. The call is dispatched to UT Police and Knoxville City Police for response. All calls which are not of an emergency nature should be made directly to the UT Police Department by calling 865-974-3114.

Blue light emergency telephones (call boxes) are located at various sites on the campus. The call boxes are activated by pushing one of two buttons – a large red button which connects directly to the E-911 dispatcher, or a smaller black button which contacts the University’s escort service. In response to a call from an emergency blue-light telephone, police officers are immediately dispatched to the location of the call or complaint. The location of the emergency blue-light call boxes is noted on the UT Campus Parking Map. In the dorms, students should report any unknown or suspicious individuals or other problems to the Resident Staff.

In the event of a medical or other emergency, the student should notify the Resident Staff, the GSSE Director, or campus security. They will arrange for proper treatment.

Students who need out-patient treatment (during the hours of 8:30am and 8:00pm) for a minor injury or minor illness will be taken to the Lakeway Urgent Care Clinic, 2461 University Commons Way, Knoxville, TN 37996, (865) 673-6603. After hours, or in case of a major medical emergency students will be taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment. Major medical treatment is the responsibility of each student and their parent(s)/guardian(s).

Students who need weekly allergy shots will need to contact the Lakeway Urgent Care Clinic, 865-673-6603, to get your allergy shots setup to be administered by the physicians at the Lakeway Urgent Care Clinic. Please remember, any expense is the responsibility of each student and their parents or guardians.

Contacting a Student in an Emergency

In an emergency, a student should be contacted by calling the resident assistant on call (the number will be available when the students check in). The residence hall front desk phone is (865) 974-4774 (Geier Hall). The GSSE office (865) 974-9493 will be able to assist in finding students from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or via email

Students will be allowed to use cell phones while at Governor’s School, except in class and all types of academic programing. Use of cell phones during the academic programs or other scheduled Governor’s School activities is prohibited and phones used during those times will be confiscated and returned to students in the residence halls. Governor’s School faculty will not tolerate the use of cell phones in class.

Mail to students will be distributed by the Resident Assistants, and should be addressed as follows:

Undergrad GSSE
Student’s Name
1331 Circle Park Dr Room 202 SSB
Knoxville, TN 37996

Do not put “The University of Tennessee” in the address in order to avoid unnecessary delay in mail delivery. Students may purchase stamps at the post office located in the Student Union.

All student expenses, including room, food, tuition, and required books, are paid for by GSSE. Most students will want a small amount of spending money for personal items, souvenirs, and late night snacks. Large amounts of money are both unnecessary and undesirable. It is risky to come to the school with a large amount of cash. UT campus is cashless. Most restaurants and stores on The Strip and University Commons will accept cash or card payments.

The month of June is a warm one on campus. We recommend that you dress casually and comfortably for daily activities. Remember that, although the outside temperature is often in the 90’s, most buildings are air- conditioned; bring a sweater or sweatshirt if you tend to be cold. An umbrella or raincoat would be a good idea in case of rain.

For the GSSE prom or other events where more formal clothes are appropriate, sport coat, ties, or dresses will be needed.

Students will be visiting labs on campus as well as in Oak Ridge National Lab. Please bring long pants and closed toed shoes for these tours. If students are enrolled in Chemistry, they will also need long pants and close toed shoes.

Bed linens and towels will not be provided. Students should bring bed linens, pillows, and towels. Beach towels might also be useful for the pool.

Laundry facilities are located on each floor in Geier Halls. Laundry facilities are complimentary, but you must bring your own laundry detergent (no pods, liquid is best).

Students should also bring a small amount of general cleaning supplies for their room as their space will not be cleaned during the duration of their stay.

View the full packing list here: GSSE Packing List 

Meals are provided daily (including weekends) beginning with dinner on Sunday evening, June 2nd, and concluding with dinner on June 28th. All meals are served in one of the university’s dining halls. All residence hall rooms are equipped with a “micro fridge” (microwave and mini-refrigerator). Students are responsible for providing their own snack foods.


Parents & Guardians: If you want to drop off groceries or meals to them, contact our office at or during business hours at 865-974-9493, and we can arrange to meet you. 


Dining Hall 

We compile all students dietary concerns and send them to the dining hall’s registered dietitian so they could plan their menus accordingly.

In the dining hall, there are several stations students can choose from. Students with food restrictions are guided to the True Balance station. The True Balance station caters to students with the top 9 allergens: milk, eggs, nuts, fish, crustaceans, shellfish, wheat, soy, and sesame.

While in the dining hall, if they still can’t find something to eat, they can ask for something made by any of the chefs on duty. If students are too shy to ask the chef themselves, they can ask their RA or ask one of us. We WANT them to ask and DO NOT want them leaving the dining hall hungry.


Weekend Excursions 

We review the ingredient list of all the meals that are provided  on the weekend excursions. If the student can’t eat the meals due to their dietary restrictions, the RAs go to Publix and purchase their lunches and snacks. We have venue permission to bring in a cooler when we visit.


Coin and ID debit card operated vending machines are located on the lower floors of the residence hall. These machines are serviced daily, except Sunday. Lost money in vending machines should be reported to the main desk for a refund.

Bring any of these items you think appropriate. Many scientists are also accomplished musicians, and  there may be a talent show. Similarly, if you have an unusual hobby or ability, you might want to teach others how to clog or juggle.

Bring sporting gear such as swimsuits, beach towel, tennis equipment, running shoes, or soccer shoes if you like these sports. Light sporting/recreation equipment, such as volleyballs, softball equipment, or basketballs may be checked out from TRECS (Tennessee Recreation Center for Students). Students are encouraged to bring cameras to take candid shots of their academic and social experiences.

You should bring your own laptop and school supplies. You will also need a scientific calculator. A backpack will be useful for carrying books to class.

Alarm clocks are necessary to avoid missing breakfast or morning classes; desk lamps are acceptable. Televisions are available in the residence hall lobbies. Remember to bring personal items such as soap, sunscreen, and cleaning supplies. However, the Campus Book Store and local drug stores carry full lines of these items if you need to purchase them while you are here.

Each student will receive a UT Net ID that provides access to the campus computing network and a computer account from the UT Department Of Computer Science. Students will have access to campus computer labs. Students may bring their own personal computers and printers to use in completing course work. All residence hall rooms have ethernet connections and the campus has an extensive wireless network. Visit the Office of Information Technology website for information concerning campus computer services and requirements for connection to the network. The Governor’s School cannot be responsible for lost or stolen laptop computers.


The John C. Hodges Library opened in 1987. The Main Library holds the general and research collections, a comprehensive collection of bibliographic and reference materials, US and UN documents, foreign and domestic newspapers, microfilms, Special Collections (including extensive legislative materials and mementos of Tennessee political figures), the University Archives, data base search services, and interlibrary services. Also located here are (1) the reserve department, which holds the reserve collections for University courses; (2) the Commons, a collaboration between the library and the Office of Information Technology. The Commons has nearly 200 computer workstations, an OIT Help Desk and Computer Support and DART machines and copiers. Here are the summer hours of operation:

Monday through Thursday 7:30 am–10:00 pm
Friday 7:30 am–6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00–am 6:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm–10:00 pm

Student Aquatic Center

The Aquatic Center has an outdoor pool with 25-meter swim lanes, a shallow end swim area, a deep end swim area, a diving well, and a large deck area for sunbathing. The indoor pool has 50-meter swim lanes. A certified lifeguard is always on duty during normal pool hours. The Aquatic Center recreation complex also has a sand volleyball court, locker rooms with showers, and a lower-lobby with a television, a few study areas, a microwave and snack machines.

Hours of Operation: Summer hours are TBD

TRECS (Tennessee Recreation Center for Students)

This 148,000 sq ft facility is adjacent to the Student Aquatic Center and has locker rooms accessible from the outdoor pool deck. The center has a gymnasium suitable for basketball, volleyball, and badminton. An indoor track, more than 16,000 sq ft of fitness space, racquetball courts, aerobics studios and an outdoor recreation center are also housed in this facility. Balls, racquets, and other light sporting/recreation equipment may be checked out from the equipment center.

Due to University regulations Governors School students will not be permitted to use free weights or machines.

Hours of Operation for summer are TBD.

Outdoor Courts

RecSports maintains 6 outdoor tennis courts, 4 outdoor basketball goals and 3 one-wall paddleball courts. These courts are open to all students.

Hours of Operation:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday 3:00pm–7:00pm

Proper identification is required to use all facilities. Proper athletic shoes are required. Any shoes which scuff or scrape the courts will not be allowed.

Food and beverages, gum, alcohol and tobacco products are strictly prohibited. Participants not wearing clothing properly or found offensive by others will be told to adjust as needed.

All participants are required to have a towel to wipe down equipment after use. (T-shirts or other clothing cannot be used in place of a towel.) No sharing of towels among participants is allowed.

Cumberland Avenue (“The Strip”) is the northern boundary of the UT main campus. It provides the support services found in any college setting, such as fast food restaurants, book stores, and drug stores. These stores, within easy walking distance of all buildings on campus, provide a source of souvenirs, a dinner out, and replacements for forgotten supplies. Be extra careful of the traffic on Cumberland Avenue; cross only at the lights when the walk sign is on and always be aware of cars that are making right turns!

There are many student religious centers in the general campus area. Due to COVID-19 policies we ask that students make plans to attend virtual worship services, if possible. If appropriate religious services are not available virtually, please contact the GSSE staff to discuss the situation to make satisfactory arrangements.

Any student having special dietary needs or medical needs will be accommodated.

If it is necessary for a student to drive to the School, you will be expected to leave your keys with the GSSE Director at registration. If your vehicle remains on campus, you will need to contact the GSSE office prior to your arrival in order to purchase a parking permit. The cost of the permit will depend on the number of days the vehicle is parked on campus. Students may not operate a motor vehicle for the duration of the School

  • Facemasks
  • Basic cleaning supplies for your dorm room
  • Laptop Computer (no Chromebooks or tablets please)
  • Earbuds/headphones
  • School supplies scientific calculator, pens, pencils, paper
  • Backpack
  • Casual clothing for class
  • Long pants and closed shoes for lab (Chemistry students)
  • Athletic clothing, sneakers, bathing suit, beach towel, flip flops for pool
  • Dress clothing for special events
  • Rain jacket or umbrella
  • Linens sheets (Twin XL bed size), comforter, blanket, pillow, towels, washcloths
  • Laundry detergent (liquid is best), laundry basket or bag
  • Toiletries including sunscreen
  • Alarm clock
  • Money a small amount of spending money and/or ATM card
  • Cell phone and charger or long distance calling card
  • Camera
  • Hangers
  • Sunglasses
  • Medication a five week supply of any prescription medication
  • Food (meals are provided, but you may bring additional drinks/snacks)
  • Printer (optional you will have access to campus computer labs)
  • Talent show musical instrument, props for other hobbies
  • Telephone for residence hall room if you want to use the landline