Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you're thinking about joining Mensa, or are already a member and interested in getting involved, this page should answer most of your questions.
What do you all talk about at Mensa events?
Western New York Mensans discuss current events, movies, music, books, hobbies - the same things that any group of people might talk about.
What kind of games do you play at a games night?
All different kinds, such as board games or card games. Popular games in the past have included: Balderdash, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Scattergories, Guesstures, Scrabble, and Songburst. People attending games nights are always encouraged to bring their favorite games along with them!
Are games nights very competitive?
Not at all. It's just for fun. Depending on the number of people in attendance, the whole group might play a game together, or might split off into smaller groups, each playing a different game. Some people might decide not to play anything and just have fun watching the other games, chatting, and enjoying the food, which is fine, too.
What if I want to get involved with Mensa but none of the events on the calendar interest me?
In this case, feel free to come up with an event that you want to plan, and talk to our calendar editor about it. (Contact information is listed on the Mensana, as well as the "Officers" page in the members-only section of this website.) We are always looking for new ideas for events, and new people to host them. The deadline for listing events on the calendar is usually about two months in advance.
I have a small apartment/house and can't really have a large group of people come over. If I start attending Mensa events, will I be expected to host events at my home?
Not unless you want to. There are many active members in our group who have been coming to events for years, yet for various reasons, do not want to, or are unable to, host one at their own home. This is perfectly fine.
What if I want to attend a potluck dinner, but I don't cook?
This is fine. You can always buy something that is already made, and nobody will mind that you didn't cook it yourself.
What are my responsibilities if I decide to host a potluck dinner or games night?
The games night host provides the drinks, and each guest brings a snack. Guests also contribute $1 each to the "kitty can" to help offset the host's costs.
The potluck dinner host provides the main course, and each guest brings an appetizer, side dish or dessert. (This is coordinated with the host when the guests call to RSVP.) Guests also contribute $2 each to the "kitty can."
Can I bring a guest to an event with me, if they are not a member?
For events held at public locations like restaurants and hiking trails, prospective members are always welcome, and members are allowed to bring non-Mensan guests, whether they are family members, friends, husbands, wives, or significant others.
However, for events held at private homes, you must first contact the event host to make sure it is okay to bring a non-member guest, and you must also go to the event to accompany the guest. (In other words, please don't send a non-member to an event as your guest if you are not going to the event yourself.)
What if I'm a new member and I want to come to an event in a public place (such as a restaurant)? How will I recognize anyone?
If the event requires an RSVP, be sure to mention to the host that you are new, so that you can plan to be on the lookout for each other. If there is no RSVP number and no host listed, you might want to try arriving at the event holding a copy of the Mensana or the Mensa Bulletin. This will probably be noticed by the other "regulars" who will realize that you are a new member.
Also, you can look for a yellow card with the Mensa logo at most of our public events. It will either be carried by the event host, or placed on the table where our group is sitting. (See picture on right.)
How can I get an article/story published in the Mensana?
If you are feeling creative or have something to say, you can e-mail it to our editor. (Contact information is listed on the Mensana itself, as well as the "Officers" page in the members-only section.) Almost any kind of original writing is accepted, in accordance with the editorial policy listed on the the outside back cover - essays, articles, movie reviews, restaurant reviews, opinions, poetry, puzzles, etc.
How can I interact with other members online?
You can interact with members at both the local and national level.
American Mensa has an online community called Mensa Connect that includes discussion boards for specific officer roles and various other interests and topics.
Check our local website for updated info and links to groups on popular social media sites.
Shouldn't Mensa, as an organization, be doing important things? It seems like it's mostly about social events.
To answer this question, we turn to Dr. Abbie Salny, who was Mensa's Supervisory Psychologist for over 25 years. In 2009, she wrote this in the Mensa Bulletin :
"There is one basic problem with this suggestion. The Mensa Constitution specifically forbids Mensa from taking an official position on questions of politics, religion and philosophy. The writers of the constitution were correct. [...] Mensa members run across the spectrum of these three areas. Any attempt by Mensa officially to come up with a political, religious, or philosophical solution to anything would alienate many members. We cannot assume that our opinions, ideas, or beliefs are shared by all Mensa members, either in the U.S. or around the world. We are, after all, an international organization.
"Mensa members who feel they should be doing something useful should consider the Mensa Education and Research Foundation. This wonderful part of Mensa gives scholarships, supports research, publishes an excellent research magazine, and does its best to improve our world. The Foundation is the part of Mensa that does more than provide socializing activities for our members. It is a worthwhile and useful part of our worldwide organization. It can also use help in doing its good work. Check into it."