A Special Note to New Members

Welcome to Sacramento Regional Mensa (SRM). We are delighted to have you as a member, and hope that in our group you'll find something of what you were looking for when you joined Mensa.

Mensa is, to a large extent, a social club. Thus, many of our activities consist of abundant conversation punctuated by forays to the refreshment table. Intellectual stimulation is always available, but if you aren't in a mood for deep talk, there's usually someone willing to chat about almost anything from television or chicken curry to quantum mechanics or the Federalist Papers.

There are two basic approaches to becoming active in Sacramento Regional Mensa. We invite you to take either one, or a combination of the two.

The extrovert's approach: Attend a meeting. Read the papers and pamphlets (with which you have been inundated) later.

Turn to the calendar pages of our local publication, pick an event that is of interest to you, and attend!

If you don't have a copy of The SacraMensan yet, call our Membership Chair at the MensaPhone, 916-925-3682, and we'll see that you get one.

Unless "RSVP" is indicated on the calendar, just show up at the scheduled time and place and introduce yourself to the host/ess.

Host an activity. You get to choose the activity and make the house rules, and you don't have to worry about getting lost on the drive home.

Start a Special Interest Group (SIG). If you have a hobby or special passion invite other Mensans to your home to discuss, work on or enjoy your mutual interest. There are many national SIG's and they usually encourage the formation of local SIG'S. Start your own unique SIG, who knows how many secret SIG-mates you might draw out.

The introvert's approach: Read this handbook all the way through. It provides answers to the "most-asked" questions of new members.

Read our monthly newsletter, The SacraMensan, to get to know some of the names and activities.

Contribute to The SacraMensan. Send artwork, letters to the editor, and articles. Your name will be in print, and you may become a celebrity before you know it.

Call our Governing Board members or appointed officers (listed in The SacraMensan). They are eager to help you, and will be glad to answer your questions about Mensa and SRM's activities.

Attend an activity. You might start with something close to home, then branch out as you feel more confident. Try at least a handful of activities before you make up your mind about what we're like. Each event is different. As in most large groups, we have a number of fluid smaller groups that tend to get together because they're compatible. Shop around for the people you feel at home with.

And always remember: We introverts may be a 3:1 minority in the rest of the world, but in Mensa, we're the majority!

This Handbook is intended to be a reference for Mensa in general and Sacramento Regional Mensa in particular, in a dictionary-style (or perhaps a desktop encyclopedia) format.

The information in this handbook (excepting our bylaws) has been arranged alphabetically. You can read it straight through, or you can just look up those subjects that interest you at the moment.

We hope that this approach will make this handbook equally useful to new Mensa members, members who want to become more active, or active members who need some reference information now and then.

The real purpose of this handbook is to help you have fun. The more you know about SRM and the rest of Mensa, the more likely you'll become and stay an active member. And we can assure you that active members have more fun.

Current Members will also find this handbook useful. Somewhere in here is the answer to that nagging question you always wondered about, or the answer to a question you didn't know you had.


MensaSpeak -

A Glossary & More (Entries of greatest interest to new members are indicated by a "")

Abbreviations are often used for Mensa terminology. These are some of the most common:

Annual Gathering
American Mensa Committee
American Mensa, Ltd.
Governing Board
Executive Committee
Female Mensan
Gifted Child or Children
Gifted Children Coordinator
Handicapped Accessible
International Board of Directors
Local Secretary
Local Officers Training Session
Male Mensan
Mensa Education and Research Foundation
No Children (at this event)
No Smoking
Regional Gathering
Regional Vice-Chairman
Sexuality SIG
Special Interest Group
Service of Information, Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers
No Smoking in room where activity will be held
Smoking Outside
Sacramento Regional Mensa
Young Mensan

Detailed Desciption of Terminology
in alphabetical order

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Activities Chair, an elected officer of our group whose duties include soliciting and scheduling activities, development of the monthly calendar and serving as acting LocSec when needed.

Activities (General Information), are as varied as the interests of our members. Some types of activities you'll find on the calendar are:

Business meetings of the Governing Board.

Lunch or dinner gatherings. These are especially good times to get to know other members in a convivial setting.

Our monthly Fold/Staple sessions are work-and-fun gatherings at which the members join forces to fold, staple and address the upcoming issue of The SacraMensan.

Local Special Interest Group meetings have included such things as Great Books Discussion, Singles Events, Games Night, SEXYG, Theatre(going) and New Members' Parties. Many occur on the same night each month, such as the 4th Tuesday; others vary depending on the availability of speakers and hosts.

Occasionally there are other activities, such as guest speakers, a discussion, or a seasonal party.

The SacraMensan prints a detailed description of such activities. The listed contact person can answer any questions you may have.

Activities (Attending), in general, Mensa members may attend any activity in this or any other local group. Occasionally, an event may have some special restrictions, such as a SEXYG speaker or discussion that is an adults-only event.

Spouses, friends, dates, parents, and adult children are always welcome as guests, but must be accompanied by the member.

Younger children are usually welcome, but you should call the host in advance to see if the program and facilities are appropriate. Indeed, if you have any sort of special needs or restrictions, it is prudent to discuss them with your host before attending any event.

Prospective members are invited to attend SRM events for a maximum of three months or three events as an introduction. After that, they should join Mensa if they wish to continue to participate. Guests of current members are, of course, always welcome.

For most activities, wear casual, comfortable attire. Ties are seldom seen. Exceptions to this will be noted in the description of the event in The SacraMensan.

Many of our events are held in private homes. A party held at a private home is a private event, and who may or may not attend is at the complete discretion of the host. The host determines house rules, such as where smoking is permitted.

The activity fee, usually 50¢ or $1, is determined by the host and is usually collected in a bowl near the refreshments. Activities that involve a meal or holiday celebration may require your contribution of food or a higher fee. The SacraMensan will note this. If you want alcohol or some particular beverage, you should provide your own.

Many non-party activities begin to break up by 9 or 10 p.m. Some hosts are willing to chat until the wee hours of the morning, but be ready to adjourn to an all-night cafe if the host wants to adhere to the curfew and you're just beginning to come to life.

Restaurant gatherings vary from cheap cafe meals to elegant and expensive feasts. These are either "floating" (moving from place to place each time) or "fixed" (always in one place). You are expected to pick up your own check and tip, but there is no additional activity fee. Check the activity listings in The SacraMensan to see if an RSVP is needed.

Activities (Hosting). Any Sacramento Regional Mensan can be the instigator of an event. Please contact the Activities Chair (whose name and phone number are listed in The SacraMensan) if you would like to be a host, suggest a speaker, or coordinate an activity. After you have cleared a date, you can make further preparations. (Plan ahead! There is an 4-5 week publishing lead time.) Then send a description of your activity to the editor of The SacraMensan.

Remember to mention any special concerns about your location, such as limited access for the handicapped, smoking restrictions, or presence of pets. It's also a good idea to note any environment that would suggest a particular sort of dress, such as an un-air-conditioned house during the warm months.

A host usually provides a yellow balloon or a conspicuous copy of The SacraMensan for gatherings in public places. For private home events a host may post a large Mensa emblem in the yard or on the front door, or use yellow balloons.

If the activity is a party or social gathering, refreshments may be provided by the host but the usual practice is to ask guests to bring something. There's no need to go to a lot of trouble, but those who enjoy cooking may serve, or bring, fancy hors d'oeuvres, quiche, brownies, and so forth. Soft drinks are usually provided. Don't forget diet varieties for the weight conscious and the sugar-free Mensans. Some hosts like to serve a punch or wine or beer, but it's not necessary.

Restrictions on smoking are at the discretion of the host/ess. Provisions may include a smoking area (inside or outside), a non-smoking area, or a break time. Some hosts post a sign on the front door or smoking area to indicate their policy. It's a good idea to include your smoking, red wine, alcohol, and/or shoe policy in the announcement of the meeting in the calendar.

Activity Fee, a small fee, usually 50¢ or $1, to help defray the cost of refreshments at an event. It's usually collected in an easily identified receptacle placed near the refreshments.

American Mensa Committee or AMC, the elected and appointed governing body of American Mensa, Ltd.

American Mensa, Ltd. or AML, the legal name of our national organization.

Annual Gathering or AG, American Mensa's AG is the largest gathering in all of Mensa International. It's a four to six-day convention held on or near the Fourth of July weekend. Upcoming AGs are well publicized in the Mensa Bulletin. There are workshops, speakers, entertainment, and fun for everyone. The AG also serves as the annual business meeting for American Mensa.

Since the first AG was held in 1963 in New York City, attendance has grown more of less steadily from 160 that first year to over 2,000 in recent years.

AGs have been held in locations as geographically diverse as New York City and San Diego CA, and as culturally diverse as San Francisco and Trenton NJ. Recent west coast sites for the AG have been Anaheim in 1990, San Francisco in 1992, Denver in 2008, Portland, Oregon in 2010, Reno, Nevada in 2011 Ft Worth, Texas in 2013.

Archivist, someone with a garage full of SRM antiquities.

Area Coordinators, members of Sacramento Regional Mensa who live in outlying areas and have volunteered, and been appointed, to coordinate activities in their area and act as contact people for that area.

Asilomar, an annual Mensa get-together that predates the establishment of official AGs and RGs. Held at the Asilomar conference grounds in Pacific Grove every Labor Day Weekend, it has many of the features of an AG or RG.

Blood Bank Account, SRM has a group account - number 2248 - with the Sacramento Medical Foundation Blood Bank, 1625 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, 916-456-1500. We urge you to donate to our account at any of their locations. SRM members can draw on this account to purchase blood at a reduced rate.

Board, the governing body of Sacramento Regional Mensa. The 6-member Board handles SRM's business, adopts its by-laws, policies and procedures, and appoints volunteers to appointed positions. Many tasks are handled by appointees. If you would like to help as an appointed officer, any member of the Board will be happy to tell you of the many ways your talents can be put to good use.

Board members are elected annually and may be re-elected (consectively) to the same position only once. Elections are held in Nov/Dec each year. Contact the Elections Committee Chair by Oct. 1st if you would like to run for office or nominate someone.

The inside front cover of The SacraMensan has a listing of current Board members and their positions.

Boutique, Mensa promotional products (books, mugs, name badges, etc.) usually offered to members through the Mensa Bulletin or special inserts in renewal mailings

Bulletin, see Mensa Bulletin

Bylaws, the basic rules of our organization. You received a copy of the American Mensa Bylaws when you joined Mensa. SRM's bylaws appear later in this handbook.

BYOB, Bring Your Own Beverage. Hosts sometimes provide snacks, ice, and soft drinks, but if you want something special, like beer, bourbon, or blackberry soda, bring your own.

BYOE, Bring Your Own Everything.

BYOM, Bring Your Own Munchies.

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Calendar, The SacraMensan contains a summary of the month's scheduled activities, with complete descriptions of the events in the detailed activity listings.

Carnelli, a favorite word game at RGs. Each player must come up with a title (book, play, movie, song, etc.) which shares a word (or concept) with the previous player's selection.

Circulation Manager, an appointed officer in charge of collecting The SacraMensan from the printer, running the Fold/Staple session, and getting The SacraMensan to the Post Office. The Circulation Manager works closely with the Editor.

Clique, what may appear to be a clique is probably just a group of very active members and/or local officers who have congregated in a little group to talk about local group business. This is the easiest of cliques to join; they are just waiting for you to indicate an interest in helping.

Colloquium, a recent addition to tradition, this is a more serious gathering than the AG. Each Colloquium is devoted to a single theme. Colloquia are sponsored and organized by local Mensa groups, with the approval of the AMC. Some of the themes that have been explored are: Science & Society, Gifted Children, The Impact of the Arts on Civilization and Politics.

Colloquia have attendance figures from just under 100 to almost 300. Phoenix, in 1984, was been the closest Colloquium to us; are we due?

Upcoming Colloquia are publicized in the Mensa Bulletin.

CultureQuest, an annual competition between Mensa's local groups. Each group fields a team or teams, which are given several pages of very difficult questions which they must answer within a specified amount of time. No reference materials are allowed, and each group is "on its honor" to obey the rules.

Data Custodian, the keeper of SRM's official membership roster, bylaws and policies.

Demographics, about 65% of Mensa's members are male, 35% are female (less than 1% are undecided). At one point in recent history, the youngest member was 4, the oldest 94. About 32% of our members have never married; 40% are married; and 20% are divorced or widowed. (The other 8% must be secretive.)

Dr. John Gieniec reported in the September 1987 Mensa Bulletin that Mensans' scores are different on the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) than the population at large. MBTI's categories are Extraversion/Introversion (E/I), Sensing/iNtuition (S/N), Thinking/ Feeling (T/F), and Judging/ Perceiving (J/P). He found the following percentage of the population in each category:

Overall 75/2575/2555/4550/50

Densan, a humorous reference to people in the 97th percentile and lower, or a Mensan behaving as in the bottom 2%.

Dues, are currently $70 per year, of which $7.50 is returned to SRM for our operating expenses. American Mensa's membership year begins on April 1 and ends on the following March 31.

If another member of your household is a Mensa member, one of you may choose to pay a reduced dues rate, which does not include subscriptions to the Bulletin or The SacraMensan.

A life membership may be purchased for an age related sliding scale fee. For instance, as of 9/2008 the life membership fee is $1,101 for someone aged 40-44. Contact the national Membership Officer for more detailed information if you would like to be a permanent member and avoid those yearly membership fees forever.

Life Dues Schedule (based on $70/yr)
AgeYou pay AgeYou pay AgeYou pay AgeYou pay AgeYou pay
0 - 9$1,482 20-24$1,371 35-39$1,182 50-54$915 65-69$587
10-14$1,452 25-29$1,318 40-44$1,101 55-59$813 70-74$502
15-19$1,415 30-34$1,255 45-49$1,011 60-64$708 75-79$407

Editor, usually refers to the Editor of our local monthly publication, The SacraMensan.

The Editor receives material from the Activities Chair, Board members, regular and random contributors, and various other sources, puts it all together, edits as necessary, types it up, prepares camera ready copy, and sees that it gets to the printer.

The Editor also establishes editorial policy and standards for the newsletter.

Our editors to date:

Gregor BottzJan 2007 - ??
Marianne MancinaJan 2004- Dec 2004
Linda HoldernessNov 2002- Dec 2003
Tamie TaylorSept & Oct 2002
Linda McCready2001-2002
W.R. McKenzie2000-2001
Michele Overmeyer1998-2000
Steev Schmidt1993-97
Sunny Hara1992-93
Martha Baker1988-91
Michael Meagher1984-87
Lisa Basker1983
Charles Cosper1982-83
Willard Haynes1981-82
Vern Weber1979-80

Election Committee, a group of three members appointed to round up candidates and conduct our local elections.

Etiquette, in general, good manners for Ms do not differ from good manners in any other social situation.

While it is not required to call a host(ess) to thank them for the good time you had at their activity, such a gracious act is therefore all the more appreciated.

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Famous Mensans, many of our members, past and present, are quite well known. Here are just a few:

- Isaac Asimov (author)

- Jean Auel (author)

- F. Lee Bailey (lawyer)

- Theodore Bikel (actor)

- Ashley Brilliant (cartoonist/humorist)

- Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning, Vietnam!)

- Geena Davis (actress, Thelma and Louise)

- Harlan Ellison (writer)

- Dr. Albert Ellis (psychotherapist, Emotive Therapy)

- James Fixx (author and fitness expert)

- R. Buckminster Fuller (inventor)

- Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time)

- Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (computer pioneer)

- Dr. Geoffrey A. Landis (1992 Hugo award winner)

- Mel Lazarus (cartoonist, Miss Peach and Momma)

- Henry Milligan (professional boxer)

- Tom Moore (cartonist and writer of Archie comic strip)

- Donald Peterson (former chairman of Ford Motor Company)

- Julie Peterson (former Playboy playmate, now a chiropractic student)

- Alan Rachins (actor, L.A. Law)

- The Amazing Randi (magician)

- Marilyn vos Savant (writer)

- Sir Clive Sinclair (computers)

Feghoot, a shaggy dog story. Feghoots are particularly popular with Mensans. For example:

A lady had a terrific green thumb. She always won first prize for her fruit at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City. One summer she grew a strawberry that was so large even she was surprised. As it got close to harvest time, the locals encouraged her to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which she did.

They were so impressed that they arranged an international reception which drew agricultural specialists from all over the world, who admired her berry.

In the final moments of the final day, the lady noticed a man lurking in a dark corner. She approached him and said, "Sir, the exhibit is closing and you will have to leave now." To which he replied, "Madam, I've come to seize your berry, not to praise it."

Fellowship Program, a new program to assist impoverished Mensans cover all or part of the cost of membership.

Fellowships are available to individuals whose past year's income was below the federally defined poverty level. Fellowships must be renewed yearly.

Applicants for fellowships should contact the National Membership Officer (listed in the March and September issues of the Mensa Bulletin).

Since the number of fellowships available is limited to the amount of money in the Fellowship Fund, Mensans are encouraged to contribute to the fund. Send a check written to American Mensa, Ltd. and clearly designated for the "Fellowship Fund" to the national office.

Fishbowl, a party activity in which anonymous questions are written and put into a fishbowl (or equivalent container). A moderator draws the questions one by one, and solicits responses. In the most popular variation, the men write questions for the women, and vice versa.

FM, a female Mensan.

Fold/Staple, volunteers collate, fold, staple, label, bundle, and sort The SacraMensan to prepare it for mailing. An early peek at the newsletter, and often free refreshments, are rewards for an evening of pleasant work and camaraderie.

GC, Gifted Child or Children. Generally refers to children with IQs in the top two percent. Locally we don't require proof of IQ.

Gifted Children Coordinator or GCC, an appointed officer who provides information to Mensans with children and parents of gifted children, and organizes activities for young Ms and children of Mensans.

Gold Country RG, is SRM's own Regional Gathering, usually held in late October. This Friday-evening-through-Sunday-morning event typically features a variety of interesting speakers, good food, games, physical activities, a costume ball and FUN (and occasional fund raising). The annual RG is a major social event for SRM and a good way to find out about Mensa in this area.

As you read this there is either an RG coming up real soon or planning for the next RG is going on. If you want more information, or would like to help with the RG (volunteers are always needed and welcome) contact the RG Chair listed on the inside front cover of The SacraMensan.

Great Questions, Indianapolis Mensan George Dunn answered the great questions of life for us a few years ago. Here they are:

If a tree falls in the forest when no one is there to hear it, does it make any sound?

Of course it does.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The egg.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?


Can God make a stone so big that he can't pick it up?


What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

One moves to the left.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

"       ," very faintly.

What do women want from men?

More attention to that question.

What constitutes success?


Is the glass half empty or half full?

Half full.

Why are lost things in the last place you look for them?

Because when you find them, you stop looking.

Why is the sky blue?

It's not, it only looks that way.

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High IQ Societies, we know of thirteen. Mensa is the largest, and has the most activities. Here's a list of all the societies, with IQ percentile required and approximate number of members.

High Five Society95?
Mensa 98107,000
Camelopard Society98300
Top One Percent Society99300
International Society for Philosophical Enquiry99.9450
Triple Nine Society 99.9420
Minerva Society99.9165
Four Sigma Society99.997100
Prometheus Society 99.997100
Mega Society99.999917
One-in-a-Million Society99.999917
Omega Society99.99997?

Hospitality or Hospitality Suite, the room set aside at RGs as a retreat from scheduled activities where people can meet and talk. Munchies and something to drink are usually available.

How to Get Things Done in Mensa,

  1. Decide what you want done.
    Do it.

How NOT to Get Things Done in Mensa,

  1. Tell someone else what you want done.

[According to Bob Gaither, LocSec of Gulf Coast Texas Mensa]

Hugging, has been described as "the official Mensa secret handshake."
Many Ms are avid, some would say "professional," huggers (and usually quite good at it); others, of a more introverted persuasion, are not. Most Ms, if they do not recognize you as an Active Hugger, will ask before they clasp. A few, unfortunately, have never quite mastered this subtle nuance of interpersonal relations; they hug EVERYBODY. If you don't mind being hugged more-or-less indiscriminately, this is not a big problem (and you are, at long last, in the majority).
However, you have the right NOT to be hugged unless YOU deem that the time, the place, and the person are appropriate.

Interloc, a national publication that provides a channel for communication among the national office, the AMC, local officers, and other interested members. Any member may request a free subscription from the national office.

International Board of Directors or IBD, Mensa's international governing body, it's made up of representatives from national groups.

IQ, Intelligence Quotient. Contrary to popular opinion, Mensans seldom discuss their IQs.

Isolated M, this postal potpourri puts isolated Ms in touch with Ms from around the world. This publication is designed for Ms who live far from a local group or whose local group is small and widely dispersed.

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Joke-Off, a popular event at AGs and RGs. Ms compete to tell the funniest clean, dirty and/or tasteless jokes. The contest may last for several hours.

Light Bulb, as in "How many... does it take to screw in a light bulb?", a popular joke form with Mensans. Some favorites:

None. The light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution.
Three, but they're really only one.
Zen Masters
Two. One to change the bulb, and one not to change the bulb.
Two. One to hold the giraffe, and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly colored machine tools.
Two. One to doubt the existence of the bulb, and one to question the need to change it since we're all destined to die anyway.
Supply-side economists
None. The darkness will cause the light bulb to change itself.
Two. One to change the bulb and one to confuse the issue.
None. It's a hardware problem.

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Little Yellow Map Pin, originally distributed as a subtle form of recognition in public. Most members don't usually wear them. If you have a map, that would be a good place to use yours.

Local Secretary or LocSec, a term from Mensa's English roots. It is the equivalent of president, head honcho, or grand poobah.

As the elected chief executive officer of our group, the Local Secretary is the official liaison with other local groups and American Mensa. The LocSec also chairs our business meetings. An experienced LocSec once described the challenge of the job thus: "Leading Mensans is like herding cats."

SRM's current LocSec, along with all other officers, is listed on the inside of the front cover of The SacraMensan.

LOTS or Local Officers Training Session, a series of regional training sessions for officers (and interested and active members) of local groups.

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Member-at-Large, a position on the Board usually occupied by the previous LocSec. We are trying to hold on to their expertise and maintain continuity.

Membership Chair, this local elected officer mails introductory brochures to prospective members, The SacraMensan and this handbook to successful candidates, and answers the local Mensa phone (916-925-3682). The Membership Chair can also answer your questions regarding membership and SRM activities.

M, Mensan.

Men's Legs Contest, a long-standing local tradition at SRM's Gold Country RG. Local male Mensans vie for prizes (and maybe a few catcalls) by strutting their leggy stuff in beach wear, formal wear and talent contests. A satire of traditional beauty contests.

Mensa, an international society in which the sole requirement for qualification for membership is a score at or above the 98th percentile on any of a number of standard IQ tests (over 200 tests are currently recognized). Mensa is a not-for-profit organization whose main purpose is to serve as a means of communication and assembly for its members. Mensa is registered at the U.S. Patent Office as the collective mark of an international membership association.

The word "Mensa" is not an acronym. "Mensa" has a triple meaning in Latin -- Mind, Table, and Month -- suggesting monthly meetings of great minds around a table. In Spanish, Mensa means "foolish woman" therefore Spanish language countries use the word "Mesa" which means Table.

Because there are no requirements other than I.Q., Mensans vary quite a bit. Ages run from 5 to 90+. Occupations range from author (Jean Auel) to radio personality and Dade County Circuit Court Judge (Ellen Morphonios) to former CEO of the Ford Motor Company (Donald E. Petersen) to more common occupations such as truck drivers, construction workers, homemakers, and students. Religious, political and other opinions also run the gamut.

Services to members include life insurance, a traveler's hospitality service (SIGHT), SIGs, and a Mensa-affiliated credit card.

Mensa contributes to the community through its scholarship program, both at the local and national levels, and through the Mensa Education and Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving our understanding of educational techniques and of psychology in general. Mensa maintains a strong interest in the gifted child and advises and assists a number of local school systems and private schools.

Mensa (History), Roland Berrill and Lancelot Lionel Ware first met on a train in 1945. They were aware of "High IQ Clubs" at several English universities, and decided to form a similar club of their own. Berrill had the first piece of Mensa literature printed on October 1, 1946, which is generally considered the date of founding. Mensa's initial membership requirement was set at an IQ score in the top 1% on an unsupervised test. This was lowered to the top 2% for a supervised test in 1960. Berrill and Ware hoped this group would be able to serve a useful purpose and provide an opportunity to socialize with one's peers.

Mensa gradually acquired members in various countries, and by 1960 there were enough members (22) to form a "National Mensa" in the United States. Peter A. Sturgeon, a medical writer residing in Brooklyn, held the founding meeting in his home on September 30, 1960. Five of the six Mensa members in the New York City area attended the meeting.

In November 1961, Margot Seitelman was hired to be the American Mensa Selection Agency, consolidating the entire membership operation for the United States and Canada into her apartment in Brooklyn. This eliminated the long delays required for members to join via correspondence with England.

International Mensa and American Mensa both ratified constitutions in 1964, and the American Mensa Committee first met in 1965. Canadian Mensa separated from American Mensa in 1967. In 1982, a new international constitution greatly increased AML's power by relating votes to national membership.

Mensa Bulletin, the national magazine for American Ms. Each March and September issue includes a complete directory of national officers, local groups, international groups, SIGs, and Member-to-Member services.

Mensa Education and Research Foundation or MERF, a tax-exempt arm of American Mensa that supports education, awards scholarships and grants, and conducts research into intelligence. Order MERF's publication, the Mensa Research Journal, through the National Office.

Mensa Hall of Fame, a blatant grab for publicity. American Mensa established the Mensa Hall of Fame in 1990. The first inductees were Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin.

According to Gabe Werba, the Mensa Hall of Fame "serves to celebrate those whose genius has been amply demonstrated by their breadth of vision or their stretching of the limits of human knowledge."

Mensa International, the parent club of American Mensa. It's located at:
Mensa International Ltd.
15 The Ivories, 6-8 Northampton Street
Islington, London N1 2HY England
(44)71 226-6891, FAX; (44)71 226-7059
CIS; 100031,1323


American Mensa had the following membership:

March 200047,367
March 199944,825
March 199844,156
April 199732,935

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International membership statistics as of December 2001

National Mensas

  here 2

Australia 15.9973
Channel Islands300
Czech Republic1.541500
Hong Kong5.5150
Malaysia 15.7900
New Zealand3.2320
South Africa33.0500
United States249.051,800
Total Members107,249

Mensa Logo, the stylized "M" with a globe is Mensa's international logo. It was designed by Peter Devenish of Middlesex, England in 1969.

Usage rules: If you are using the logo in an unofficial capacity, you may use the logo with the word "member" associated with it, on stationary, calling cards, etc., without permission.

You may NOT alter the logo in any way, including removal of the ®. You may NOT use the official symbol on items for your personal profit. You may NOT use the names "Mensa" or "Sacramento Regional Mensa" in any offical way on a computer bulletin board without permission from American Mensa or SRM's Governing Board, respectively.

Mensa World, a quarterly publication of the Mensa International Board of Directors, designed to be a communications link for Ms around the world. Get a peek into New Zealand or Japanese Mensa. Check the current Mensa Bulletin for subscription information.

MM, Male Mensan.

Moving, when your address changes, send your membership number, your old address, your new address, and your new/current phone number (even if it hasn't changed) to the national office. SRM can't change the address that your Mensa publications are mailed to. The National Office will not accept changes of address from anyone but you.

Ms, Mensans.

National or National Office, of American Mensa, Ltd. handles all our data processing and membership requirements. Write them at:
American Mensa, Ltd.
1229 Corporate Dr. West
Arlington, TX 76006-6103

The staff at the national office keeps track of our local members and provides mailing labels for The SacraMensan each month. They also arrange for quarterly direct deposit of local group support funds.

Except for telephone or address changes, all special requests of the National Office should be sent through your Local Secretary.

If you need, or want, to contact the National Office you can find the address, phone numbers and names of office staff in the Mensa Bulletin.

Or... National Mensa Web Pages

Newsletter Awards, an annual contest to recognize the best local group newsletters. Prizes are awarded in a number of categories (usually 18), including "continuing column," "humor," "artwork," and the "Owl." The awards are presented at the AG.

Newsletter Exchange Program, a program coordinated by the national office to improve communication between local groups. Local editors can choose to receive a few monthly newsletters from other local groups.

Nominating Committee or NomCom, the group appointed to solicit and evaluate candidates for national election.

Ombudsman, an officer appointed to resolve disputes. SRM has a local ombudsman who is elected to a three-year term. Our current ombudsman is listed on the inside cover of The SacraMensan.

The national Ombudsman will usually refuse to consider your complaint if you have not already given your local ombudsman, Governing Board and RVC the opportunity to deal with it.

Opinions, Mensa has no official opinions on any subject, except those specifically mentioned in our constitution. Mensa members, on the other hand, always have a multitude of opinions on everything.

Owl, associated with wisdom, owls are frequently used as symbols for Mensa and Mensans.

Owl Award, an annual award for the best local group newsletter in American Mensa.

Prior Evidence, any means of joining Mensa without taking Mensa's proctored tests. Mensa accepts scores on over 200 different standardized intelligence tests as "Prior Evidence" of qualification for Mensa.

Proctor, a qualified volunteer, appointed by AML, who conducts testing sessions to determine the eligibility of prospective Mensa members. The two standard tests used are the Cattell Scale III Form B, and the California Test of Mental Maturity, Short Form. These tests are not valid for people under the age of fourteen.

A non-language battery of tests is used for dyslexic candidates, and for those whose main language is not English.

The tests are scored at Mensa's national office, and the results are returned by mail in three to four weeks. Approximately 70% of the people who are tested qualify for Mensa. Of those who qualify, about 90% actually join.

Proctor Coordinator, the coordinator of our testing program. The National Office sends names of potential Mensans to our Proctor Coordinator, who passes them on to the appropriate Proctor for testing.

The Proctor Coordinator, who must be a qualified Proctor, is a volunteer who is appointed by the Board. (Also see Testing Coordinator.)

Public Relations Officer, prepares press releases, articles, and ideas for publicity, and helps publicize the annual scholarship competition sponsored by MERF. If someone from the media should contact you regarding Mensa, please consult with our Public Relations Officer (listed on the inside front cover of The SacraMensan).

Purposes of Mensa, Mensa has three official purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research in the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members.

Qualified Prospects List, a list of people who have qualified for Mensa, but haven't sent in their dues yet. National sends a monthly update of this list to our Membership Officer.

Reader's Digest, several articles in this magazine have generated substantial surges in Mensa's membership.

Region, an administrative subdivision within American Mensa. Mensa is divided into nine Regions and about 146 Local Groups, strictly for ease of management. We are in Region 8, the Pacific Intermountain Region, which includes the states of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah.

Regional Gathering or RG, a local group version of an AG. RGs are many groups' primary fund raising activity. SRM's RG is called "Gold Country RG."

The first U.S. RG was "Heart of America" in Kansas City, MO in 1964. The longest run of annual RGs is "Asilomar" (not officially an RG, but very much like one) in Monterey, CA, which started in 1965.

Some of the RGs near us include:
San Francisco RG somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Wine Country RG in Santa Rosa.
(Also see Asilomar.)

Regional Vice-Chairman or RVC, is our representative on the American Mensa Committee.

The name and address of our current RVC is printed on the inside cover of The SacraMensan.

Retest!, a humorous declaration that a Mensan has done something so dumb that the test that qualified them for Mensa must have been in error.

Roster, the yearly listing of all SRM members. This is published once a year in The SacraMensan. It is only for the private use of our members; no commercial use without prior SRM Board authorization is permitted!

RSVP, most in-home meetings do not require a reservation, but restaurant gatherings sometimes do. RSVP dates are noted in the calendar description of an event in The SacraMensan.

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Scholarship Chair, works with the national Scholarship Chairman, the RVC, and volunteers from SRM to select candidates for local and national scholarships.

Secretary, an elected officer who takes minutes at our Board meetings and submits them to The SacraMensan for publication.

Service of Information, Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers or SIGHT. Volunteer SIGHT Coordinators provide information on local activities and try to arrange accommodations with Mensa hosts for traveling Mensans.

Special Interest Group or SIG, brings members together to share an incredible assortment of interests. National SIGs range from Absurd ("the first refuge of the lunatic fringe") and Alternative Rock to Animal Rights and Astronomy/Space Science (and those are just a small sampling of the A's!).

The listing of national SIGs appears in the March and September issues of the Bulletin. SIGs usually operate via newsletters or exchange of correspondence. Local SIGs are not necessarily nationally-affiliated. They hold meetings which are listed in our calendar.

Required Disclaimer: Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are voluntary associations of Mensa members, which operate independently. Sacramento Regional Mensa is not responsible for actions taken by, at, or on behalf of any individual SIG.

The SacraMensan, our local group newsletter, published monthly. In addition, we have a web site that we update monthly.

The SacraMensan includes a local activities calendar, activities descriptions and reports, business meeting minutes, Board members' reports, an RVC report, art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submitted by our members.

The SacraMensan welcomes submissions of material for publication from our members. You may submit poetry, sayings, limericks, essays, recipes, puzzles, letters to the Editor, artwork, or whatever else you can create. Most submissions will be acceptable for publication. Excess length (over 1000 words) reduce your chances of being published. Explicit sexuality, violence, anonymous submissions (you may remain anonymous in print upon request), personal attacks on other members, and items that violate U.S. copyright laws will not be published.

The Editor reserves the right to accept, reject, or edit material. Other Mensa publications may reprint your work, provided the item does not bear an individual copyright.

Contact the Editor of The SacraMensan for current requirements and deadlines.

Sacramento Regional Mensa or SRM, the Sacramento Regional Chapter of American Mensa. Correspondence can be addressed to SRM at PO Box 13311, Sacramento, CA 95813-3311.

SRM, with about 600 members, is a middle to large sized group in American Mensa's local groups.

Our members live primarily in Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties. Officially our geographic area covers ZIP codes from 95203 through 95959.

Approximately 56% of our members live in the Sacramento area (including Carmichael and Fair Oaks).

SRM's gender distribution (as of 4/94) is 37.5% female, 61% male and 1.5% who aren't telling.

SRM (History), The local chapter of Mensa began sometime in the mid 1960's. A regular monthly dinner meeting and occasional parties and other events seems to have been the activity level in those days.

One of our long time members recently observed that, "The parties haven't changed much over the years except for the absence of smoking and considerably less drinking."

During the 1970's Sacramento Mensa became part of San Francisco Regional Mensa. Also during this period our longest running event, the Downtown Lunch Bunch, began its weekly get togethers (see The SacraMensan for current information).

Breaking away from San Francisco, we became a Regional group on our own in the '80's. In 1986 the northern portion of our region branched off when the folks in the Chico area formed their own group.

Testing Coordinator, a Board appointed volunteer who performs the same job as a Proctor Coordinator, but need not be a Proctor. (See Proctor Coordinator.)

Treasurer, our elected chief financial officer, the treasurer writes checks to pay our bills, keeps our books up to date, and prepares financial statements to be printed in The SacraMensan. The treasurer is one of three officers (the others being Local Secretary and Editor) that National requires each local group to have.

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Volunteer, a person who keps Mensa running - you perhaps?

Waffling, one of the premier events on the SRM calendar. A first- Sunday-of-the-month gathering at the home of one of our long-time members (see the Activities listing in The SacraMensan for details). Waffles and coffee are provided, you bring a brunch item and $1.00 activity fee. This well attended event is one of the best ways to discover SRM in all its personal, intellectual, culinary and conversational variety.

The Women of Mensa, a photo story in the November 1985 issue of Playboy magazine featuring seven very attractive members of Mensa. It generated a significant surge in membership over the following year.

Young Mensan or YM, Mensa members aged 3 to 25.

ZIP List, a computer printout listing all of SRM's members in ZIP code order. We get an updated version from the national office every month.


Many thanks to the editors of the following sources and people which were used as references and contributors in the preparation of this Member Handbook:

Tampa Bay Mensa Member Handbook, various editions and editors, and the many sources Tampa Bay Mensa used to put together their handbook (which they have graciously allowed us to use as a model for this handbook).

Special thanks to Kent Akselsen of Tampa Bay Mensa who edited (and authored?) the Tampa Bay Handbook and permitted us to use it as a starting point for our handbook.

Many (local) thanks to Martha Baker, Rod Baker, Debra Callahan-Reiger (especially!), Pat Coontz-O'Dell, Don Jaramillo, Janice Johnson, Harold Mains, Susan McIntire, Leonore Morikone, Henry A. Mumm, Steev Schmidt and Jim Werdell for their help in providing useful bits of information, text, editorial suggestions, and proofreading services.

This first edition of Sacramento Regional Mensa Member Handbook has been cobbled together by John C. Reiger, Sacramento, CA
The web site was designed by Sandy Feder

Sacramento Regional Mensa Member Handbook is published sporadically by Sacramento Regional Mensa for new members and as an supplement to the The Sacramensan. Send all communications regarding this Member Handbook to: Sacramento Regional Mensa, P.O.Box 13311, Sacramento, CA 95813-3311, 916-925-3682.

A lot of this publication is © Tampa Bay Mensa. All material not copyrighted by others (basically all unattributed material) may be reprinted in Mensa publications, provided that credit is given to this newsletter and to Tampa Bay Mensa. Prior written consent is required for any other reproduction in any form.

Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors, and are not necessarily those of the Editor, the Officers, nor other members of Mensa. Mensa has no opinions.

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