Frequently Asked Questions About Convention

Who can be a delegate to the DSA National Convention?

Any DSA member in good standing may be a delegate to the convention. Delegates are selected from DSA local chapters or if there is not a functioning chapter in your area a member may be an At-large delegate. Local delegate elections are conducted by the local DSA chapter.  In practice it is very easy to become a delegate to the convention. The national office will accept any self-nominations to be a delegate and forward them to a local chapter if appropriate.  Members who are YDSers are considered part of the nearby DSA chapter if they live in the same area, or if there is no local DSA group then YDSers should nominate themselves as at-large delegates.

Do I have to be a delegate to attend the convention?

DSA conventions are open to the public. Any member or non-member may attend convention events as an observer provided they pay the required registration fees.

Exactly where and when will the convention be held?

The Hilton Garden Inn is in Emeryville, between Oakland and Berkeley (1800 Powell St., Emeryville, CA 94608).

The convention will open at 9:00am Friday, October 25th and close at 2:00pm Sunday, October 27th. We recommend those arriving from points east arrive the evening of Thursday, October 24th.

Will there be special convention events or events on any other days?

There will be a pay-your-own-way dinner/reception for delegates arriving on Thursday, October 24th. On-site registration will also open Thursday evening.

Can family members participate in convention events?

Delegates’ family members are welcome to participate in convention events. Family members will have to pay the posted observer fees if they are not delegates. We can help you arrange childcare should you need to do so.

When do I have to decide by?

Since travel is involved, the sooner, the better. Most local chapters elect delegates in September. If you decide to go at the last moment it may still be possible to serve as a delegate by filling a vacancy.

How do I nominate myself to be a delegate?

Contact your local DSA group, or contact the national director by phone, mail or email, (info (at), or register online by clicking on our registration page here.

What does it cost to be a delegate?

All delegates to the convention are responsible for their own travel and hotel costs as well as payment of the convention fee. The fee for this convention will be $195.00 ($220 at the door); the fee covers convention materials, coffee breaks and snacks as well as the convention banquet. A block of rooms has been reserved for convention attendees at the Hilton Garden Inn. The rate is $139 (plus hotel tax) a night for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, but is $169 for Thursday, October 24th. Breakfast is provided in the room price, and all rooms have fridges. Single and double rooms are available. All delegates’ membership dues will have to be up to date by the time the convention opens.

Are there any programs to offset these costs?

YES, listed below.

1)      Travel Share

Delegates to the convention participate in a mandatory travel share program that is intended to equalize or offset transportation costs. There are two options:

Option 1:

An estimated travel share will be set prior to convention. If their travel cost is less than the estimated travel share a delegate pays into the fund at the registration table. If they spent more than the estimate they will receive a rebate of the difference after the convention. Travel expense information is collected at registration so that the final travel share will be based on the exact cost. Covered expenses include airfare, bus fare or train fare. Mileage and tolls (based on the IRS charity mileage rate in effect at the convention (currently 14 cents a mile). Hotel costs, transportation to or from an airport or other terminal, and meal costs are not included. Delegates are expected to travel on 21-day non-refundable airline tickets or their equivalent. Transportation costs deemed excessive may reduced for the purpose of calculating and dispensing rebates. Travel from outside the United States is not included. Delegates who travel from outside the United States may submit a travel cost based domestic airfares. A committee of delegates will work with the National Director address any inequities that may arise in the administration of the travel share system.

Option 2:

Delegates traveling together by car or traveling by other less expensive travel methods may opt to pay a flat travel fee of $75 which will be used to subsidize delegates required to fly. Those paying the flat fee would not receive a subsidy from the travel share fund; but would save $125-$145 on the traditional travel pool. We believe that this system will also increase the subsidy to those who have to fly.

2)      Sharing Hotel Rooms

The national office can arrange for people to pair up in hotel rooms with someone of the same gender identity. Note your interest when you register or contact the national office directly at info (at) or (212) 727-8610.

3)      Staying with DSAers Outside the Hotel

The East Bay DSA local chapter is asking members who can put up out-of-towners for free. This could mean a bed, or a couch or even the floor. Note your interest when you register or contact the national office directly at info (at) or (212) 727-8610.

4)      Scholarship Support from National DSA

A small scholarship fund is available to help subsidize participation. This fund prioritizes helping students and young people, but low income members may also apply. Delegates may request the scholarship application form from the national office directly at info (at) or (212) 727-8610. To contribute to the scholarship fund, click here.

5)      Scholarship Support from Local DSA

Local DSA chapters are responsible for doing everything possible to fundraising and subsidize low-income delegates’ participation.

How will I find out about convention resolutions and other important convention business?

Any delegate, local or member may submit a resolution to be considered at the convention. They should be submitted by October 16th to info (at) All proposed resolutions will be posted on the convention page of DSA’s web site. Delegates will be emailed convention materials as we near the convention.

Is there any mechanism for pre-convention discussion among the delegates and other DSA members?

Local chapters are encouraged to have meetings to discuss convention issues in October. Additionally, delegates will be added to a moderated discussion email list.

What about the convention hotel?

Accommodation is $139 a night for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, but is $169 for Thursday, October 24th, should you arrive early (good idea for East Coast travelers). Breakfast is provided in the room price, and all rooms have fridges. To reserve a room with the special convention rate (plus tax), call (510) 658-9300 and reference “DSA” (and insist on the special rate). You may also do so via our special DSA reservations page. NOTE: If you book online for Thursday through Sunday the reservation system, may give you the $169 rate. Only when you are about to enter your credit card information does it then show the correct rates. 

What about transportation from the airport.?

Those flying to the convention should plan on flying into Oakland International Airport rather than to San Francisco International Airport. Oakland is about a 25 minute taxi ride, costing $45-50, whereas San Francisco is 45 minutes and about $80. There is a AirBART shuttle bus which costs $3.00 exact change which takes you from Oakland International Airport to the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART (public train) station. The closest BART station to the hotel is McCarther, in Oakland, which is about a 12 minute drive from the hotel. There is a public bus (Emery-go-round) which stops at both the BART and the hotel. Click here to see bay area transportation information.

The Emeryville shuttle that goes between Bart and the hotel comes every 15 minutes. The hours on week days are 6:00AM-10:30PM, on weekends the hour are 9:20AM-10:00PM.

What about driving to the Convention?

You should not need a car in for convention events. Parking at the hotel is $15 per night for all guests and convention attendees. Remember that the mileage allowance for the convention travel share is the IRS charity rate, currently 14 cents a mile. (However most drivers will want to opt for the flat fee plan.)

What about train service?

The closest public train (BART) station is McCarther, in Oakland, which is about a 12 minute drive. There is a public bus (Emery-go-round) which stops at both the BART and the hotel. The Emeryville shuttle that goes between Bart and the hotel comes every 15 minutes. The hours on week days are 6:00AM-10:30PM, on weekends the hour are 9:20AM-10:00PM.

Amtrak also stops within 5 blocks of the hotel, the station is called Emeryville (EMY). Click here to see bay area transportation information.

There is a shuttle you can also call to buy a ticket if you arrive or depart after the BART is no longer running in the evening: Bayporter  877.467.1800.

Feminist Working Group

December 14, 2016
· 50 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the election.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Turning Members into Leaders

December 28, 2016
· 20 rsvps

Are you starting a new group? Or have you been doing most of the work for your longtime group? Has it been hard to keep new people involved or get them to take responsibility? But suddenly everybody wants to jump in at the same time! Learn how to mentor new leaders and make sure they have all the information and tools they need to succeed.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

NOTE: This training is at 9:00pm Eastern (8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific). Please RSVP.


  • Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy.

In Leadership Development you will learn:

The proven steps to developing the leadership skills and commitment of more members:

  • identifying potential leaders
  • recognizing what each one brings to the group
  • asking people to volunteer
  • giving them specific tasks
  • supporting them in their efforts
  • creating opportunities for new leadership
  • following up.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for local leaders who will lead campaigns in their chapters.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt 607-280-7649.
  • If you think you can't do it by computer, contact Tony Schmitt 608-355-6568.
  • You can participate in every workshop or just attend once in a while.
  • Workshops will generally be on a weekends or evenings.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance -- by midnight Monday.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

January 19, 2017
· 62 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8:30 PM ET; 7:30 PM CT; 6:30 PM MT; 5:30 PM PT.

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 10 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.