Event Policies

You’re here for fun, food, and fellowship — in short, a good time. To ensure that good time, and for the safety and comfort of everyone, the Annual Gathering has a few policies in place. Please comply so that you and everyone else can enjoy the AG.

Event Policies

Alcohol

The American Mensa Committee acknowledges that there is a place for enjoyment of alcoholic beverages at its events, but the AMC discourages the abuse of alcohol by attendees. The use of alcohol is an individual decision, and members and their guests in attendance have an obligation to make responsible decisions regarding their use of alcohol — that includes compliance with all local, state, and federal laws relating to alcohol service and consumption. Also note:

  • Hotel-specific restrictions may apply;
  • 21 is the legal drinking age;
  • Anyone serving alcoholic beverages will check IDs and are empowered to limit consumption to avoid over-serving;
Animals/Pets

Animals in the event space should be leashed and under control at all times. Only trained service animals are allowed in speaker rooms, Hospitality, the Games Room, and the other event spaces. Please keep your animal at least 10 feet away from food and drink service areas and food lines. If your needs require you to take an animal into those areas, exceptions may be made by the AG chairs or Hospitality Chair. There will be marked animal-friendly tables near the food service areas; please sit at those tables if possible. Only service animals are welcome at the Hilton Inner Harbor. Non-service animals are allowed in the hotel (100 pound maximum and $100 non-refundable fee required), but are not allowed in the event space.

Audio/Video Recording

Recording is not allowed without permission. Recording for commercial purposes of sessions that occur at Mensa events without providing prior notification of/approval by those being recorded is contrary to the policy of American Mensa, Ltd. Any reproduction and/or publication of copyrighted material from sessions that occur at Mensa events without permission from the copyright holder is contrary to the policy of American Mensa. The word “sessions” refers to sessions of any kind, including presentations, performances, discussions, and any other sort of session. The word “recordings” refers to video, audio, and all other forms of recording as well as live-streaming, broadcasting, or any other method by which the sessions may be made available to those not in attendance.

Badges

Your badge is required for entrance into Hospitality and all AG-related rooms and events (including SIG suites). Wear it at all times while in the hotel or you will be denied entry. If you arrive after registration closes for the evening and have preregistered, White Hats will be able to issue you a temporary badge to use until registration opens in the morning. First and last name (and membership number) appear on all adult badges; youth badges display first name and last initial.

Code of Conduct

Attendees must respect common sense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing, offensive, or generally unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated. All illegal actions will be immediately reported to the appropriate authorities. American Mensa reserves the right to take any action deemed necessary and appropriate, including but not limited to immediate removal from the event without warning or refund, in response to any incident of unacceptable behavior.

Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Unwelcome physical contact, verbal aggression, and other forms of harassment toward other attendees, presenters, vendors, or event staff
  • Disruption of presentations, game-play, or any other events organized by American Mensa in the general event space at the event venue, hotels, or other American Mensa-contracted facilities
  • Violation of event space policies reserved for children and teens (and their guardians)
  • Intoxication, to the point of interfering with other members or becoming a hazard to yourself
  • Tampering with food or drinks consumed by others
  • Damage or destruction of American Mensa-contracted venue space

If someone is causing you discomfort, please tell them and/or contact an event Host Committee member, National Office staff, or White Hat. If you need immediate and direct intervention for your personal safety, request assistance from security at the front desk or call 911.

We reserve the right to remove anyone from American Mensa national events for inappropriate behavior with no refund of registration or other fees. Depending on the severity of the incident, American Mensa may take further action following the event.

COVID Policy

Uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cloud planning for events nationwide, and American Mensa and the Mensa Foundation are closely monitoring federal and local recommendations and restrictions that might impact the Annual Gathering and Colloquium. Currently, there are no testing or masking requirements, although that is subject to change. All registrants will be notified of any policy change via email (and this policy will also be updated online to reflect updates).

Parental Attendance

Parents and/or legal guardians (or a designee of the parents/guardians) may attend with their underage attendee. The accompanying adult will pay the fee on the same basis (member or nonmember) as other adult attendees. The accompanying adult will be considered a guest of the member who is under age 18 or, if the person under 18 is not a member, a guest of the member or group who is sponsoring the attendance of the under-age person.

Professional Photography

Members of the working press have been invited to this event. If you would prefer not to be photographed, please see the Registration Desk for an appropriate sticker to add to your badge.

Retail Sales

The Mensa Store is the official store for products at the AG. Only authorized sales are permitted in the event space.

Registration Cancellation / Refund Policy

A 10-percent processing fee will be charged for cancellation and refund requests through May 31, 2023. Refund and cancellation requests received after May 31 will be reviewed case-by-case, based on circumstance and event viability. Registration rates are non-transferable. For more information or to cancel, email Registration.

Signs & Messages

Signage at the event must be approved by the AG Chair. In accordance with hotel policy, nothing may be stapled, tacked, or taped to walls. Message boards are available to post notices — this includes general and personal announcements, such as requests for meal tickets and roommates. The AG Committee reserves the right to remove items considered inappropriate.

Spark! And Teens

The Mensa Foundation is a funding sponsor of Spark!: three days of structured programming for children ages 4-12 (divided into different age groups). It is not childcare; rather, it is an opportunity for youth to engage in activities specific to them. For safety and security, there are restrictions on who is allowed inside the Spark! area. If you aren’t a minor who has been signed up for Spark! (or the parent/guardian of that child), you will not be allowed into the Spark! area.

For safety and security reasons, the Teens room is reserved for attendees aged 13 to 18 (or the parent/guardian of any teenager in the Teens room). This is strictly regulated.

Speaker Registrations

Any current or lapsed Mensa member who presents a program at an Annual Gathering is required to pay event registration. An external speaker who presents a program at an AG may receive a complimentary non-transferable registration for the day of the presentation; this registration may include one guest.

Tour Cancellation / Refund Policy

The tour cancellation and refund policy mirrors the event cancellation policy: A 10-percent processing fee will be charged for cancellation and refund requests through May 31, 2023. Refund and cancellation requests received after May 31st will be reviewed case-by-case, based on circumstance and event viability. Tour registrations are non-transferable. For more information or to cancel, email Registration.

Additionally, tours are subject to cancellation if the tour minimum is not met by the tour deadline. If a tour is canceled due to low registrations prior to the tour cutoff date, registrants will receive a full refund. Tour cancellation for low registrations will be determined no fewer than seven days prior to departure.

Weapons

The weapons/firearms policy for all American Mensa national events is dictated by the rules of the venue and applicable local, state, and federal law. Hilton Hotels does not allow anyone to carry or possess firearms, or any illegal weapons, in any of their hotels.

 

Most of these policies are established in American Mensa’s Actions Still in Effect and may not be modified. The event Chair reserves the right to change or modify any policy or rule not based on official ASIEs or the ASIE appendix.