Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions. We’ve got answers. Get a feel for the Annual Gathering, whether it’s your first time or it’s been a while since you last attended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a registration 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.

How many people will be there?

We’re expecting between 1,600 and 1,800 attendees from across the United States and from around the world.

I’ve never attended an AG and have questions about what goes down during this five-day event.

The AG typically starts on Wednesday around noon and ends Sunday afternoon. It is usually held around the Fourth of July holiday. Several concurrent tracks of speakers run from first thing in the morning till late into the night. Some speakers are Mensans; some are not. Like members’ interests and expertise, topics vary widely.

There are also Special Interest Group Meet-and-Greets, where members of Mensa SIGs can meet in person. Similarly, there are Meet-and-Greets for Local Group officers as well as leadership development sessions.

The Games Room is a 24-hour funhouse of continuous play, and more competition spills over into a Tournaments Room. Hospitality — open 24 hours — is a ballroom with tables and chairs, snacks, soft drinks, and beer and wine (alcohol is typically served from early afternoon until late into the evening or early morning). It’s a communal space where people just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. (Some attendees spend all or most of their AG time here.)

Special programming designed just for kids is provided in Spark!, and a teen room gives similarly-aged M’s a fun spot to convene.

After the sun goes down, some of our bigger Special Interest Groups — Gen Y, Gen X, GaySIG, and HoserSIG — open up their suites for late-night shenanigans. Suite numbers are listed in the event program.

And there are special events, such as the Mr. Mensa pageant fundraiser, the Gala Dinner with a speaker, and tours of local attractions.

When will details of the agenda and programs be available?

The session schedule will be available on here on the website around mid-May. The free event app will be available by mid-June, and it will contain the programming schedule.

Is the event open to spouses/friends, even if they’re not members of Mensa?

Yes. The AG is open to members and their guests — family, friends, etc. Guests pay a higher registration fee.

What is included with my registration fee?

Short answer: A lot! Five full days of programming, eight meals (breakfast and lunch Thursday-Saturday, dinner on Thursday, and breakfast on Sunday), and 24-hour access to Hospitality (a large ballroom and de facto meeting place with snacks and drinks).

Longer answer: Your registration fee includes all events and activities except for off-site tours (coming soon!), the Gala Dinner/speaker, and other smaller-scaled ticketed events. Of course, your registration fee also helps cover the cost of putting on a big convention (e.g., audio-visual charges for speaker rooms, our mobile event app, Wi-Fi, insurance, etc.).

Does the Annual Gathering have a code of conduct?

Yes, the AG Code of Conduct is available in our event policies.

Do you have any pro-tips, especially for staying fed (and happy) on a budget?

The bevy of free snacks and food in Hospitality — including continental breakfasts, lunches, and at least one dinner — is a good place to start. Besides tasty food, Hospitality is convenient, helping you stay on schedule with programs and other events you have planned.

Experienced AG-goers always remember that it’s a five-day event. While Hospitality tries to cater to dietary restrictions and the scale of tastes, it’s in your interest to do what many AG pros do: hit a nearby grocery and stock your room with preferred items, sundries, and dietary musts.

What is the appropriate dress?

There’s no dress code — the AG is very casual for the most part. Many attendees will wear T-shirts and jeans the whole time. Some people get really dressed up for the Gala Dinner (cocktail dresses and suits), although most will wear what you’d wear to a nice dinner out; some will go very casual even to the Gala Dinner. No judgment one way or another. Air conditioning in event hotels can be hard to control, so it’s a good idea to bring an extra layer or small jacket to programming and other events.

I assume there is a large meeting everyone attends?

There really isn’t one large meeting that everyone attends. Members are encouraged to attend the Annual Business Meeting, an event required by our Bylaws. Probably the best-attended events are Mr. Mensa and the Gala Dinner.

Will group dinners be part of the event?

Save the Gala Dinner — the only scheduled meal not included in the breakfasts and lunches served in Hospitality — no. You will find that informal groups may go out to dinner at nearby restaurants or at the hotel restaurants.