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. These policies are for AG 2021.

Event Policies


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, and staff serving alcoholic beverages will check IDs.
  • Retail sales of alcohol is prohibited unless exhibit space has been purchased.

Animals in AG 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. Please consult the Hilton Americas pet policy regarding pets in rooms.

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.


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, you will not be able to access AG rooms or events until registration opens the next morning and you are able to retrieve your badge. First and last name (and membership number) appear on all adult badges; youth badges display first name and last initial.

Code of Conduct

The Annual Gathering will be a friendly and safe environment for our attendees and speakers.

  • Unwelcome physical contact and other forms of harassment will not be tolerated.
    • Green hug dots are not a license to touch; please ensure your contact is welcome.
  • Disruptive or unsafe behaviors will not be tolerated.
  • Violation of event spaces reserved for children and teens (and their guardians) will not be tolerated.
  • If someone is causing you discomfort, please tell them and/or contact a White Hat or AG Committee member.
  • 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 the AG for inappropriate behavior with no refund of registration or other fees.


This is a 24-hour area for fellowship and food. Several buffet-style meals are usually scheduled, a variety of snacks and beverages are available around-the-clock. This includes alcoholic beverages (see Alcohol). There are usually special tables for like-minded people to gather — watch for table signs such as “Politics Free,” “First Timers,” and “Quiet Zone.”

Hug Dots

Many Mensans like to greet at gatherings with a hug, but they also respect your personal space. Here’s a guide to the dots worn by many on name badges:

  • Green: No need to ask before hugging
  • Yellow: Ask before hugging
  • Red: No hugs, please
  • Blue: Attendee is single
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.


Detailed session listings are available via the event website — ag.us.mensa.org — the print program, and the event app. Note that the time and location of program sessions are subject to change; please consult the event app for the latest information or for alerts about programming changes.

Retail Sales

The Mensa Store is the official store for products at the AG. If scheduled, the Mensa Marketplace is where you will find arts and crafts for sale by Mensa members.

Registration Cancellation / Refund Policy

Yes. Refunds for Annual Gathering and/or Colloquium cancellations requested between April 21 and June 21 will not include a fee, and those who canceled their registration on March 1 or later and were charged a fee will receive refunds.

Uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cloud planning for events nationwide, and American Mensa and the Mensa Foundation are closely monitoring recommendations and restrictions that might impact the Annual Gathering and Colloquium. This one-time change in cancellation policy is being made to account for registrants who must reevaluate their plans because of health or financial concerns.

Safety & Security

The Annual Gathering will be a friendly and safe environment for attendees and speakers. Please refer to the event code of conduct. Inappropriate physical contact, verbal abuse, or harassment will not be tolerated, and persons not in compliance may be removed from the event without a refund. Please note:

  • White Hats are volunteers wearing — you guessed it! — white hats and they are available 24 hours to help things run smoothly. If you feel uncomfortable about a situation, find a White Hat for assistance.
  • A first-aid kit is available in Registration for minor emergencies.
  • For serious emergencies inside the hotel, dial “0” and report the location and nature of the emergency to the switchboard. 911 handles all emergencies outside of the hotel.
Signs & Messages

Signage at the event must be approved by AG Chairs. 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 request for meal tickets, roommates. The AG Committee reserves the right to remove items considered inappropriate.

Smoking (including e-cigarettes)

Hilton has a smoke-free hotel policy, and this applies to the event. Designated smoking areas can be found outside the hotel.


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 signed up for Spark! (or the parent/guardian of that child), you will not be allowed into the Spark! area.

Speaker Registrations

Any current or lapsed Mensa member who presents a program at an Annual Gathering is required to pay event registration. A nonmember 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.

Teen Room

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

Tour Cancellation / Refund Policy

Tours are subject to cancellation if the tour minimum is not met by the tour deadline. If a tour is cancelled due to low registrations prior to the tour cutoff date, registrants will receive a full refund, minus the $0.35 tour company processing fee. Tour cancellation for low registrations will be determined no fewer than seven days prior to departure.

  • Individual cancellations prior to the tour deadline will be fully refunded, minus the $0.35 processing fee.
  • Individual cancellations will be accepted up to and including the final booking date published on the website. A full refund will be processed to the credit/debit card on file, including the credit card fee.
  • No-shows and individual cancellations after the published tour deadline date(s) will not be refunded.

Once a tour is confirmed (the minimum number of guests has been reached by the deadline), additional registrations will be accepted based on availability.


Weapons policy for all American Mensa national events is dictated by the rules of the venue and applicable local, state, and federal laws.

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