DSA Convention 2017 FAQ


Who can be a delegate to the DSA National Convention?

Any DSA member in good standing (that is, whose dues are paid through September 2017) may be a delegate to the convention. Delegates and alternates are selected from DSA local chapters. If there is not a functioning chapter in the area, a member may be an at-large delegate. (Organizing Committee members should apply as at-large delegates.) Members of Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) are considered part of the nearby DSA chapter if they live in the same area. If there is no local DSA chapter, YDSers should nominate themselves as at-large delegates.

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

Any DSA member may attend convention events as a non-voting, non-speaking observer provided they pay the required registration fees. We will let in non-DSA members depending on space and needs of delegates.

Exactly where and when will the convention be held?

The convention will be held at University of Illinois at Chicago. A campus map is here.The main convention building is Student Center East (SCE), 750 S Halsted St. Optional housing is adjacent to the north at Courtyard Student Residence and Commons West (SRCW) and Student Residence and Common South (SRCS). The address for the school is 1200 West Harrison St. Chicago, Illinois 60607.

The convention will open Thursday, August 3rd in the evening and close at 3:00pm Sunday, August 6th. We recommend people arrive the evening of Thursday, August 3rd. The official programming does not start until Friday morning.

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

There will be a casual welcome reception on Thursday night. We are planning other social events, such as a large banquet dinner on Saturday night. Please stay tuned for more exciting and fun activities.

Join a Thursday afternoon tour between 2:00 and 4:00, free of charge, of Waldheim Cemetery, where the Haymarket Martyrs and other radicals such as Emma Goldman and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn are buried. The cemetery can be reached by taking the Blue Line, which runs past UIC, the convention site. Details to follow.

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is on the UIC campus, free of charge, open Thursday and Friday 10:00-4:00, Sunday noon-4:00. Hull-House, a social settlement co-founded by peace activist Jane Addams, served as a residence for activists involved in many social reform campaigns of the early twentieth century.

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 provide space for people to supervise children and/or children’s programming, with advanced notice, which you can provide during the registration process. We will not provide professional childcare.

When do I have to decide by?

Registration is required in advance because of space issues. Chapters have until June 30th to determine their delegations. At-large members have until July 15th. Currently, the last day to register is Friday, July 28. However, registration may be closed at any time when we have reached capacity, so register early.

How do members of the Young Democratic Socialists participate?

Any YDSer in good standing can run as a delegate, but YDS chapters as institutions do not elect delegates. YDS chapters located in the zip code defined area of a chartered DSA chapter are part of that DSA chapter. Therefore, any YDSer residing in that area would need to run as their DSA locals (AKA chapters) delegates. YDSers not in DSA chapters may also serve as delegates, but at-large. (Please note: organizing committee members are considered at-large.)

Does my new local send delegates?

The only local chapters that need to hold convention delegate elections are those that received emails about the number of delegates. Members residing in organizing committees (OCs) and not in any chapter are at-large. We may hold an election for at-large members, but only if there are over 230 eligible members interested. We won't know if we need an election until sometime in June.

Please note that the convention apportionment is set based on the local chapters’ boundaries as of April 17th, 2017. Any new local chapters and OCs created since then do not impact delegate apportionment. For example, if an OC is created out of an existing local chapter's zip codes, members of the new OC would have run for delegates of the existing chapter, not the new OC. At the 2019 convention, they could represent their new group - not their old chapter.e welcome to bring a printed candidate statement with picture to be posted in a prominent place at the convention.

How do I nominate myself to be a delegate?

If you live in an area that has a full local DSA chapter, you must contact the chapter leadership to run. (A list of chapters and contact information is here.) If you live where there is a DSA organizing committee or no chapter at all, you would run as an at-large delegate.

Please fill out this form to self-nominate yourself as an at-large delegate.

This will be just for members residing in organizing committee jurisdictions or where there is no formally recognized DSA group at all. If there is substantive response (for example, if the number of people responding is around 75% of the allotted number of at-large delegates), we will host an at-large member election. There can be no more than 228 at-large delegates at the convention.

How this election will be held is yet to be determined. We will have a committee working on the process to make sure the vote is well organized and reaches at-large delegates.

What does it cost to be a delegate?

The costs of the convention vary depending on your registration rate and if you decide on housing. In addition, there is a mandatory travel share that may add additional fees to your overall expenses. Some delegates will receive money back from the travel share pool.

The convention registration fees, which include all meals, are listed below. You can pay here.

Registration Type

Early Bird


Low and Fixed Income









These are the nightly housing fees. You do not need to stay on-site, but these are much lower than any hotel and will make participation easier. We start early and end late many nights. If you require housing for a family, contact dsaconvention (at) dsausa.org. Some wheelchair-accessible housing is available. You can pay here.

Room Type

Early Bird


Single per night



Double per night



Are there any programs to offset the costs of attending?

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. Delegates can choose which option to use:

  • One pool is for people who fly. The average cost will be calculated at convention and the travel pool funds distributed accordingly. In other words, if you spend more than the travel share, you will receive a refund after the convention. But if you get a flight that is below the travel share, you are expected to pay into the travel share fund to subsidize others.

  • One pool is for people who commute locally, drive, or take the bus or train, or use frequent flier miles. They will cover their own expenses and, in addition, above that pay a fixed travel fee of $75 to the convention.

**We have obtained a 10% discount for travel on Amtrak to and from the Convention. To get the discount, you must call 1 (800) 872-7245 to make your reservation (not book online) and give them the following fare code: X73E-969. This code is only good for travel to and from Chicago between July 31 and August 9, 2017.

2)      Sharing Residence Hall Rooms

The national office can arrange for people to have roommates with someone of the same gender identity if you choose a roommate registration rate but do not request specific roommates. Note your interest when you register or contact the national office directly at dsaconvention (at) dsausa.org or (202) 787-5280.

3)      Scholarship Support from National DSA

You can apply for a scholarship here. The last day to apply is Friday, July 7th. Delegates may request the scholarship application form from the national office directly at dsaconvention (at) dsausa.org or (202) 787-5280.

4)      Scholarship Support from Local DSA

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

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

Any delegate, local chapter or member may submit a resolution to be considered at the convention. Priorities Resolutions are due June 20. Amendments are due by June 30. All other resolutions are due by July 14.; email to resolutions (at) dsausa.org. Please ask for the resolutions template if you do not have it (it has been emailed to chapter leaders). If you do not follow the template format, your resolution/s will be rejected. All proposed resolutions will be posted on the convention page of the DSA website. Delegates will be emailed convention materials as we near the convention.

You can find a copy of the temporary rules here.

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

Local chapters are encouraged to have meetings to discuss convention issues in June and July. Additionally, delegates will be added to a moderated discussion email list, and national conference calls will be scheduled.

Is there transportation from the airports?

The convention venue is about an hour from the Chicago airports. Please use this carpool and taxishare interest form to self-organize for travel from regional transportation hubs. DSA staff will NOT be coordinating carpools.

CTA trains to or from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) take at least an hour from campus to the airport (not counting walking from the CTA terminal to the airline gates). CTA trains to or from Midway Airport (MDW) take at least 1.25 hours  (not counting walking from the CTA terminal to the airline gates; MDW is smaller than ORD.) For details, consult www.transitchicago.com.

What about driving to the convention?

You will not need a car for convention events. The closest campus parking is available at the Halsted Street Parking Structure, located across from Student Center East (SCE), the convention venue (a map is here). You may access it from Polk Street to its north or 760 West Taylor Street, to its south.  But you may only exit and pay through the Taylor Street exit. On-street parking is not available. Parking rates are as follows:

Hours Parked Weekday Rates Weekend/Evening Rates
0 to 0.5 $4.50 $4.50
0.5 to 1.5 $6.50 $6.50
1.5 to 2.5 $8.50 $8.50
2.5 to 3.5 $10.00  
3.5 to 4.5 $11.50  
4.5+ $13.00  


New Member Call, August 26

August 26, 2018

August 26, 2018

9:00pm ET/8:00 CT/7:00 MT/6:00 PT

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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.

Questions or Comments? Contact: 


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