Frequently Asked Questions
About The March For Science Chicago

If you are looking for the logistics on march day, please visit this page. If you are looking for details about accessibility resources for the rally, march and expo, please visit this page.



faq

HAS THIS FAQ BEEN COMPLETED?

No! Check back again for additional and updated answers to your questions.

WHEN AND WHERE IS THE RALLY, MARCH AND EXPO?

April 22, 2017 starting at 10:00am. Enter the rally from Michigan Ave at Congress Pkwy. The most up-to-date information on times and location can be found here. Plans may change as we get closer to the event, so check back at sciencemarchchicago.org, on Twitter or on https://www.facebook.com/ScienceMarchCHI/ for up-to-date times and locations for the Rally, March and Expo.

Marchers, please obey posted signs, be guided by yellow-vested March marshals, stay off the grass and out of fenced-off areas, and march along the designated route. Let’s be respectful of people and property in the nearby area.

WHO IS MARCHING?

Anyone who values science.

I'm not a scientist, can I march?

Absolutely. This is a March for Science, not for scientists. If you support our mission and goals, then this is an event for you.

I have limited mobility and am not sure I can make it through any or all of the march, will there be a way for me to participate?

Yes! We are working to make our Rally, March and Expo accessible to all. Visit this page for additional accessibility details. We will have an accessible viewing area located in front of the stage which will include close proximity to the stage and speakers, ASL interpreters, closed captioning service and chairs.

Do I need to register in advance?

No, but doing so helps us prepare for a growing crowd size. So we may prepare space and services for a safe and enjoyable march, please register through this eventbrite site. Your registration helps us anticipate attendance, and get you important information before you arrive.

I have Earth Day clean up in the morning, should I still come downtown to march?

Our Rally is at 10:00am. Our March will begin at 11:00am. The Expo will continue until approximately 2:00pm. Please join in when you can!

WHO IS ORGANIZING CHICAGO’S MARCH?

The March for Science Chicago is a group of volunteers who have come together to plan this extraordinary event. We are political, but we’re non partisan and not a lobbying group. We’re for STEAM (science-technology-engineering-arts-math) education and evidence-based policies. We’re for forming bridges and bonds between scientists and the public, and we’re working to humanize and make science approachable.

Are you a non-profit organization?

We are an Illinois nonprofit and are fiscally sponsored by the 501(c)3, tax exempt, Sigma Xi science honors society. We accept tax exempt donations through Sigma Xi.

Are you affiliated with the March for Science in Washington, DC?

Our Chicago event is one of hundreds of satellite marches being held on April 22 that are affiliated with national March for Science. However, all sites are managed independently by local volunteers - including ours!

HOW CAN I GET TO THE MARCH?

By rail, bus, car, bike, and independent motion of any kind.

What is the best way to get to the March?

Take public transportation. Parking will be difficult, and transit will be a great way to meet other marchers on your way. All Metra train lines and many CTA trains and buses bring riders into and out of downtown Chicago near our event.

Do you have advice on using Metra Trains?

All Metra train lines to and from Chicago suburbs have stations in downtown Chicago. The entrance to our event, at Congress Parkway and Michigan Ave., is:

  • Just above the Van Buren St. Station
  • 0.4 miles from LaSalle St. Station
  • 0.6 miles from Millennium Station
  • 0.6 miles from Museum Campus/11th St. Station
  • 1.0 mile from Union Station and Ogilvie Station

You can plan your trip on a Metra train at metrarail.com/.

Fares on Metra depend on the distance you travel and tickets can be purchased at stations and from a ticket agent. More information for new riders can be found here: metrarail.com/riding-metra/new-riders.

Do you have advice on using CTA trains and buses?

This CTA guide can help you plan your trip, make connections to other regional transit systems, and pay your fare. Travelers new to the CTA system should read this visitors guide. Travel on CTA buses and trains is paid using a Ventra Ticket, available for purchase inside train stations. Ventra tickets are used to enter the turnstile of a train station or must be presented to get on a bus. Bus drivers do not accept cash payment.

If you have questions about accessibility of the CTA buses and trains, see this accessibility guide.

The closest CTA train stations for the red line are Jackson and Harrison, and the closest CTA train stations for the Loop lines (brown, purple, orange, pink, green) are Adams & Wabash and Harold Washington Library-State/Van Buren.

The CTA has several bus lines running along Michigan Avenue and State Street, but on the day of the March, some bus lines will be re-routed.

If there is a bus route change, how will I know?

For the purposes of our march, buses will be rerouted off Columbus. These include #6, J14, and 28, which will cross over from Columbus to Michigan at Roosevelt instead of Balbo. For other changes, please check CTA's website.

Will Metra and CTA be adding extra trains?

They were not planning to add extra trains, though they were monitoring our numbers just in case. I confirmed with them today: CTA is not adding extra trains. Metra is not adding extra trains, though their staff is on standby to "open extra cars if the crowds necessitate it"

Additional comment: The #146 bus is the best (non-walking) option for leaving the expo and returning to the loop. It runs from Museum Campus (stopping in front of the Field Museum), down Roosevelt, then into the loop. Its normal Saturday service will be available, running every 8-11 minutes from 11:45am to 7:30 pm. Extra buses are also scheduled to transport marchers at the end of the march.

Can I get dropped off by a cab or ride-sharing car?

Cabs and ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber will be provided with a designated drop-off area, which will be announced sometime before April 22. However, with a large event and some street closures, traffic in the Loop may be heavily congested before and during the event. For now, the best address for drop off is 500 E Congress Plaza Dr., Chicago, IL.

Can I bike to the March?

Divvy bike-sharing stations are available around Grant Park. More information on renting a bike is available at www.divvybikes.com. If you take your own bike, we recommend finding a bike rack before you get to the event. With other events in downtown Chicago, the area around the event is likely to be congested with other bikers. And no bikes may be chained to the temporary fencing. They will be cut and removed by the fence contractors.

My group is renting a bus to come downtown. Is there a special place for bus drop off?

The horseshoe on Congress Pkwy is still our only official drop off point. However, we recommend dropping off large groups at least two blocks away from the event to avoid congestion.

Where can I park if I drive to the city?

We strongly recommend taking public transit to reach the March site; parking is limited in downtown Chicago during a large event, and traffic may be heavily congested that day. If you absolutely must drive, there are some paid parking lots around Michigan Avenue and other parts of the Loop. This guide explains parking options in downtown Chicago. Help apps for finding parking include SpotHero and BestParking.

WHAT IF I AM UNFAMILIAR WITH DOWNTOWN CHICAGO?

Who will be there to help?

Look for Greeters near the CTA and Metra train stations around the Loop and at the entrance to the Rally. They will have information about our events and can help answer questions about downtown Chicago.

How can I meet other marchers?

Find or form a Meetup for people with similar interests or hometowns (Skokie scientists! Bolingbrook botanists! Vernon Hills volcanologists! Pullman pulmonologists!). Plan to meet in a set location outside of the Rally area and head in together.

Is this area safe?

Participation in any large public march and rally involves some risk, and participants march at their own risk. Having said that, the area around Grant Park in downtown Chicago is generally a safe place, but—as with any large city—it is important to be aware of your surroundings and cautious with your possessions. For events with large crowds, consider carrying only a small amount of cash, an ID and one credit card in a pocket or bag that is close to the front of your body.

The Chicago Police Department and private security officers have worked closely with March organizers to plan a safe event. Police will be present in and near our events, as will EMTs in the event of a medical emergency.

HOW SHOULD I PLAN FOR THE EVENT?

Where can I get something to eat or drink?

There will be no food vendors at the March, so plan accordingly. Please bring plenty of water. The Loop offers many restaurant options, though wait times after the March may be long. Please help us make our event clean & green by bringing your drinks and food in reusable containers. And please pack out your trash-- just like you would on a hike!

Where will bathrooms be available?

Portable toilets will be available near the Rally and Expo. Nearby restaurants have bathrooms available to paying customers. Some free public restrooms nearby include:

  • in the Chicago Cultural Center, on the north (East Randolph Street) end of the building
  • in the Harold Washington Library Center
  • under Millennium Park (open during park events)

Note: Public bathrooms near Buckingham Fountain will not be accessible during the March.

This Google map shows locations of some public restrooms in downtown Chicago.

What happens if there is bad weather?

Please dress in layers, appropriate for the day’s weather forecast. You might need sunscreen too. In the event of extreme weather (e.g. threat of lightning), the March events will have to be cancelled. If this is the case, we will try to quickly notify everyone via Eventbrite, Facebook and Twitter.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Friends, family, and co-workers!

How do I get them to join me?

Explain that you care about science and this is the event of a lifetime to show your support.

Signs! What types of signs are allowed?

We encourage marchers to make sign expressing support for science. Unlike Washington, DC, the city of Chicago places no restrictions on the types of materials you may use for signs. However, you may be in a crowd, so something smaller, lighter and that you can carry above your head may work best. We hope to have a spot at the end of the March designated for recycling/reusing cardboard signs and wood.

Are backpacks allowed?

Yes. Bring what you need for the day (food and drink, sunscreen, layers of clothing), and plan to take it back with you. Tip: When riding a crowded CTA bus or train, wear your backpack on your front side.

Are goggles required?

Always in the lab, but not at the March.

Can I bring items to sell at the march?

No. You can bring items to give away for free, but please only do so if you are sure they will be used and not end up in the trash.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO HELP THE MARCH?

Are there flyers available for me to share?

Please download a flyer with a March route map here! More flyers are here, including in Spanish and Polish. Please distribute flyers widely through email and social media, and ask local businesses to post printed versions as well. To help make our event clean & green, please print with discretion.

How can I donate to support the March for Science Chicago?

Visit our donations page and encourage your contacts to do the same.

Where can I get a cool and official March for Science Chicago t-shirt?

The March for Science Chicago store, hosted by Chicago-based company Threadless, has all the nifty swag. All proceeds will help alleviate expenses of holding the March in Chicago.

Will there be T-shirts for sale at the march?

No, as it requires special licensing that would change the nature of our event.

How can I help make the March a “clean and green” event?

April 22 is Earth Day! In that spirit, please bring your own bag to “pack out” your trash and recyclables, the way you would if you were on a hike. In fact, if you see trash on the street and are able to pick it up, please consider packing it out with you.

I saw trash and protest signs piled on the ground at previous events. That’s not very green. Will I see that here?

Well, yes. While it does not appear green to see those piles, some of them are intentionally there to make clean up with trash easier on a second pass. However, we will have a team dedicated to following behind the march and picking up trash.

What about the Expo?

What is the purpose of the expo?

After the march, we want Chicagoans to be able to take their next step in supporting the science community and get involved in scientific efforts:

  • Research happening in Chicago that directly impacts our community
  • Learn about participating in Citizen Science efforts
  • Sign up to volunteer with organizations to directly impact our community
  • Find out more about how you can help guide science in The Science City

What should I bring?

We recommend bringing with you to the Expo:

  • The MFS Chicago app (Coming soon!)
  • A reusable water bottle
  • Rain coat/poncho (an umbrella is not recommended given crowd size)
  • A bag for holding materials handed out by exhibitors
  • A bag for holding trash (littering will not be permitted)

Will I be able to park at the Expo/Field Museum?

Parking at the Expo, Field Museum, and Soldier Field will not be available. If you need to park your car, we suggest parking at the Millennium Parking Garage.

What happens to the Expo if it rains?

We will continue to hold the Expo if the rain is manageable. If there is a severe storm forecast, we will cancel the Expo and notify you through social media and the MFS Chicago app.

I would like to volunteer at the Expo. Who should I contact?

Please email volunteer@sciencemarchchicago.org and specify that you would be interested in helping at the Expo. Please note that we also have other volunteer opportunities at the rally and march. For more information, visit our volunteer page here.

Who should I contact if I have any other questions?

Please email email me and include “Visitor: “ in the subject line before the title of your email.