Pre-convention Regional Conferences Frequently Asked Questions

Where and when are the pre-convention regional conferences?

Which conference should I attend?

What will the program be, and how flexible is it?

How will registration work?

How long will registration remain open?

Who is on the national program planning committee?

When should I plan to arrive and leave?

How will I afford to travel to a regional conference?

Will I have to find my own housing?

Will there be accommodations to ensure registered members can participate?

Can I bring my children?

What if I have a conflict with the date of the regional conference for my chapter?

What’s the role of the host chapter?

What’s the budget?

Who can I contact for more information?

Where and when are the preconvention regional conferences?

Los Angeles, CA February 9-10

Knoxville, TN February 23-24

Albany, NY March 2-3

Denver, CO March 9-10

Washington, DC March 16-17

Boston, MA March 23-24

Dallas, TX March 30-31

Portland, OR April 6-7

Chicago, IL April 13-14 (May change)

Which conference should I attend?

Members must have paid annual dues at some point in 2018, or paid monthly dues as recently as December 2018 in order to be eligible to attend a regional conference. Please refer to this map to know which conference is for you.

Since we want to invite as many members as possible to participate in pre-convention discussions, national DSA staff will also be organizing zoom calls in May 2019 for members who can’t attend a regional conference. Furthermore, we’ll be following up with members who attend regional conferences to support them in organizing pre-convention trainings or discussions with their home chapter in order to create even more avenues for participation.

What will the program be, and how flexible is it?

The regional conferences are the beginning of the participatory pre-convention process. All members will have earlier access to the convention timeline than in years prior. National staff will work with each Regional Conference Coordinating Committee (RCCC) to recruit panelists, trainers, facilitators, and logistics volunteers.

In order for all members to have equal access to information, we’re going to have a uniform conference agenda so that we are debating similar topics throughout the organization. There is time for a panel and small group reflection on the current national priorities, and time for debate on three questions. Debate prompts are still being drafted by the national conference subcommittee so that we are discussing the same issues and strategies across the organization and we hope to get them out to everyone ASAP so that members have time to explore these questions.

The program includes time for regional strategy discussions on Sunday. We are asking that each RCCC engage in whichever process it thinks is best to engage conference participants in shaping the regional strategy discussions. If a RCCC would like to add programming specific to their conference, or self-organized time, Sunday afternoon is unscheduled.

There will be trainings on grassroots fundraising, strategic campaign planning, how to do political education, harassment and grievance intake and investigation, and Robert’s Rules of Order, how to write resolutions, the timeline and other convention matters.

There will no voting or decision-making at the regional conferences since conference participants won’t be elected to attend on behalf of chapter or at-large memberships.

How will registration work?

There is an allocation of members based on chapter size, so the number of chapter and at-large members will vary per conference.

Membership SizeAllocation per Chapter
5,000+60
2,500-4,999 50
1,500-2,49940
1,000-1,49925
500-99920
200-49910
100-1995
0-993

We are asking chapter leaders to choose whatever process you think is best to invite your members to participate. At-large registration, which will be open to all members, including organizing committees and YDSA chapters will be first come, first served and sent to all members by mid-January. At-large spots are allocated according to the number of organizing committees and the number of states for each regional conference.

How long will registration remain open?

We don’t have a registration closing date yet, but will likely close as soon as the at-large spots fill up.

Who is on the national program planning committee?

Allie Cohn, Jeremy Gong, and Marianela D’Aprile from the NPC, and Maria Svart (National Director) and Sasha Hammad (Operations Director) from national staff. The program committee has created a standard framework for the regional conferences.

The regional conference coordinating committees (RCCCs) will be the on-the-ground planning bodies, recruiting speakers, facilitators, and volunteers from the members who register for each regional conference.

When should I plan to arrive and leave?

The program will officially start Saturday morning. Attendees should plan to arrive Friday evening, if possible. There will be a social organized by the host chapter Friday evening for members who arrive early.

Sunday’s standard program ends in the morning, in time for people to get lunch on their own and travel home. However, regional conference committees may choose to add additional programming Sunday afternoon.

How will I afford to travel to a regional conference?

A limited number of stipends will be available to members who need financial support to travel and we are raising additional funds. Registration includes a section for members to apply for travel support.

Will I have to find my own housing?

We are asking host chapters to phonebank their memberships to secure as much solidarity housing as possible. Registration includes questions to this effect.

Will there be accommodations to ensure registered members can participate?

Registration asks members for what accommodations you may need in order to participate. National DSA will work with host chapters to secure need-based accommodations.

Can I bring my children?

We will provide on-site child watch at each conference. Depending on the demand for child watch, funds for childcare at home may or may not be available.

What if I have a conflict with the date of the regional conference for my chapter?

These regional conferences are part of a larger pre-convention process to engage more members than we have previously had capacity for at Regional Leadership Trainings. The regional conferences are designed for in-person participation.

We are developing facilitator’s guides that conference participants can take back to their home chapters in order to facilitate discussions or trainings from the conferences. Additionally, national staff will facilitate opportunities this spring for participation in virtual preconvention political discussions and trainings for members who can’t attend a regional conference.

What’s the role of the host chapter?

  1. Find a venue
  2. Pull together the conference logistics
  3. Participate in weekly regional conference coordinating committee (RCCC) calls, and
  4. Host social events Friday and Saturday night.

What’s the budget?

$28,050 per conference, not including national staff costs:

Space (a hall to hold 150-200 people + 4-5 breakout rooms)$5,000
Food (Friday night through Sunday morning)$7,350
materials$500
childcare ($17/hr)$200
stipends for travel and housing$15,000
TOTAL$28,050

Who can I contact for more information?

Field organizers are in touch with host chapters. National DSA is sending two field organizers and another staff person to each conference to help with logistics.

Please keep an eye out from your chapter’s leadership or national DSA for a schedule of “Ask me anything” calls about the regional conferences.