Mark your calendars! DFALS17 will be BIGGER and BETTER than ever. Leadership Studio builds bold, empathetic student leaders with the power to make change on their campuses and for the rest of their lives.
This year, DFA teams will explore: "How can we expand accessibility in urban areas?" DFA teams will work to ensure the inclusion of those with differing abilities into the fabric of our communities and the future development of our cities.

WHEN August 3rd - 7th, 2017

WHERE Northwestern University

Join the fun. Use design innovation for social good. #DFALS17!

Why Attend Leadership Studio?

Connect with DFA students from campuses around the country and share studio best practices. Hear from top social innovators and design professionals.

Practice the design process from start to finish, mastering design methods from building empathy to testing prototypes.

Collaborate with community members and provide valuable insights to partners and organizations to create real impact with your project.


DFA Student Registration:
Studios Sending 2-3 Members: $75 per person
Studios Sending 4+ Members: $60 per person

Contact for more information on multi-leader discounts.

Register here.


Registration closes July 16th.

Student ticket prices increase from $75 to $85 after July 1st.


Evanston, IL is located north of Chicago.

Public transit to and from O'Hare or Midway airports is available.

To enjoy all the LS 17 festivities and limit travel time and expenses, it is strongly encouraged to book housing in Evanston.


Thursday: 5:30pm Kickoff
Friday: 9am-5:30pm, Design Sprint
Saturday: 9am-5:30pm, Design Sprint and Expo
Saturday: 6pm DFApalooza
Sunday: 9am - 5:30pm Studio Leadership
Monday: 9am-1:30pm Design Leadership Beyond DFA

Please plan to attend all DFALS events.


Discount hotel rooms are provided by Hyatt House Evanston.
$159 + tax per night per room (1-2 guests)
$169 + tax per night per room (3+ guests)

Hyatt House Evanston is in walking distance to Northwestern's campus. Breakfast is included with the room.

Call 847-864-2300 or book online here and provide the group code G-HDFA to receive the discounted rates.

If booking online enter the code in the 'Corporate or Group Code' section of the Special Rates booking option.

Rooms must be booked by July 15th to receive the group rate.


DFA has a limited number of partial, need-based scholarships. Full scholarships are not available.

We ask that you that you request the minimum scholarship which allows you to attend so that we can work with others in need as well. 

Applications due May 14th.

Click here to apply.

James Dyson DFA Leader Scholarships

Thanks to the James Dyson Foundation, we are pleased to offer the opportunity to become James Dyson Design Leaders. Dyson DFA Leaders will receive a full scholarship for travel, housing, and LS registration. Applications due June 11th. 

Click here to learn more and apply.

Check out photos from LS 2017!

2017 Keynote Speakers

Dawna Leggett, Design Impact
Senior Social Researcher

Dawna’s work combines the best practices from qualitative research and human centered design to solve complex social problems. Prior to DI, Dawna studied nonprofits engaged in workforce development, community-building, and education. She has a passion for understanding how organizations facilitate the social mobility of vulnerable populations. Her interests lie at the intersection of class and culture, with a focus on how people form new identities through encounters with organizations.

George Aye, Greater Good Studio
Co-Founder & Director of Innovation

George co-founded Greater Good Studio with the belief that design can lead to positive behavior change. Previously, he spent seven years at global innovation firm IDEO before being hired as the first human-centered designer at the Chicago Transit Authority. Since founding Greater Good, he has worked across multiple social issues including autism, criminal justice, education, public health and health care. George is an adjunct full professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Other Featured Speakers

Adam Hecktman, Microsoft Civic Tech
Amy O'Keefe, Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University
Anna Lehner, Medline Industries
Byron Stewart, Dramatic Diversity

Chad Reid, Shure
Daniel Rees-Lewis, Delta Lab, Northwestern University
Eric Lipp, Open Doors Organization
Geneva Vest, DFA Rice Alum
John Leach - Grainger
Jordan Fisher, Capital One

Katherine Darnstadt, Latent Design
Kelly Costello, Panorama Innovation
Neal Sales Griffin, CodeNow
Renee Zientek, Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, Michigan State University

+ Many more!

DFALS17 joined by the following partners:

DFALS17 made possible by:

Champion Sponsor

Designer Sponsor

Contributing Sponsor

Contributing Sponsor