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. Please note that all observer spots have been filled.

Exactly where and when will the convention be held?

The convention will be held at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Thursday check-in and events, as well as housing check-in and check-out will be at Student Center East, 700 S. Halsted Street

Friday and Saturday check-in and events will be at UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road. Break-outs will be at Student Center East.

Please see this map of DSA convention event locations.

Optional housing is adjacent to the north at Courtyard Student Residence and Commons West (SRCW) and Student Residence and Commons South (SRCS).

The convention will open the evening of Thursday, August 3rd and close at 3 PM on Sunday, August 6th. We recommend attendees 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. Labor historian and DSA member Susan Hirsch will be at the cemetery to answer questions. Details to follow.

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is located on the UIC campus. Admission is free. The museum is open Thursday and Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM, and Sunday from noon to 4 PM. 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. On Thursday from 3 - 4 PM, Addams scholar and DSA member Rima Lunin Schultz will be at the museum to answer questions about Hull-House.

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. __Please note that all observer spots have been filled. __

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.

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.

Upon request, the DSA national office has created this table to show the current amount of allotted delegates and current delegates for the 2017 National 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. If you live where there is a DSA organizing committee or no chapter at all, you would register as an at-large delegate. The deadline to register as at-large is July 15th.

At-large delegate spots will be just for members residing in organizing committee jurisdictions or where there is no formally recognized DSA group at all. There can be no more than 228 at-large delegates at the convention.

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. Please purchase your registration online.

Registration Type Early Bird Regular
Low and Fixed Income $75 $125
Sustainer $175 $225
Solidarity $275 $325

While you do not need to stay on-site to attend the convention, we offered housing accomodations at rates much lower than any hotel. The final deadline for housing was July 23rd. We are UNABLE to honor housing requests now that the deadline has passed. If you still need to pay for a room you ALREADY REQUESTED you can do so at the convention.

Room Type Early Bird Regular
Single (per night) $50 $60
Double (per night) $20 $30

Are there any programs to offset the costs of attending?

Yes, we have a number of programs that can help to reduce the cost of attending the convention.

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.

Amtrak discount

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 and tell the agent to enter the following code ‘in the discount-code box of the auto-price screen’: X73E-969. This code is only good for travel to and from Chicago between July 31 and August 9, 2017. The code will not work for online bookings.

Sharing residence hall rooms

The national office can arrange for people to share a room with someone of the same gender identity if you choose a roommate registration rate but do not request specific roommates. Please note your interest when you register or contact the national office by email or by phone at 202-787-5280.

Scholarships from DSA

Applications for scholarships have closed as of Monday, July 10th. Scholarship applicants will be notified on a rolling basis.

Support from your local chapter

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

Who can apply for a scholarship? How is scholarship money allocated?

Applications for scholarships have closed as of Monday, July 10th. Scholarship applicants will be notified on a rolling basis.

Because members at large do not have the financial support of a local DSA chapter, we give priority to their applications. However, chapter delegates do receive support from the national scholarship fund. In setting our $27,000 fundraising goal, we included both delegates at large and chapter delegates.

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 and the Voting page of this site. Delegates will be emailed convention materials as we near the convention.

In the meantime, you can review the temporary rules. Here’s a shortlink to the temporary rules: http://tinyurl.com/DSAcon17temprules

What's a Parliamentarian?

Parliamentarians are individuals in charge of moderating convention plenaries. They must be highly experienced with Robert’s Rules of Order. Familiarity with both DSA culture and convention process is desirable. Parliamentarians will be crucial to the success of the convention’s plenaries so please fill out this interest form if you are willing and able to participate.

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.

Thanks to all who participated in the 7/15 DSA virtual conference. It was extremely productive for helping us to clarify where DSA chapters across the country stand on alternative strategies for carrying out key areas of DSA’s work, and it was also a model of comradely, respectful debate. Please find information about next steps for the priorities resolution discussion process, including an audio recording of the conference and a summary of chapter discussions here.

Is transportation from area airports provided?

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

Trains to or from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) take at least an hour from the convention location to the airport, not including the time 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. Visit the Chicago Transit Authority site for more information.

What about driving to the convention?

You will not need a car for convention events.

On-street parking is not available. The closest campus parking is available at the Halsted Street Parking Structure, located across from Student Center East (SCE), where the convention is being held. This parking lot can be accessed from Polk Street to the north or 760 West Taylor Street to the south. However, you may only leave and pay through the Taylor Street exit.

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  

Can I get a refund?

DSA will only provide convention refunds for “Acts of God.” Act of God is defined as: something not influenced/caused by people. This includes, but is not limited, to people getting sick, natural disasters, and flight cancellations. (Yes, flight cancellations are caused by someone, but the not the adversely affected person.)

How can I learn more about DSA's history?

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)—and its two predecessor organizations, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the New American Movement (NAM)—had their origins in the early 1970s, at the beginning of a long-term rightward shift of U.S. and global politics.

You can read more about DSA’ history here.

I can't attend the convention. Is there a way I can help?

Yes! Even if you can’t attend the convention, you can support this historic event in two ways: volunteering virtually to help us with planning and supporting our scholarship fund. We will need may volunteers to make sure that the convention is well set up and member driven. Note that this is a significant time commitment. You can fill out the application form here.

Please help bring low-income members to Chicago. Click here to donate to our convention scholarship fund.

I’m press and I’m interested in covering this event.

For press accreditation and any interview requests please fill out this application. For further questions, please contact Lawrence Dreyfuss at ldreyfuss [at] dsausa.org We will be accrediting many journalists but not everyone is guaranteed a spot, so please reach out as soon as possible.