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Western Pennsylvania Mensa
MEMBERSHIP HANDBOOK

Little Yellow Map Pin -- the recognition symbol for MensaWELCOME

Western Pennsylvania Mensa Mensa welcomes you to our group. This booklet was assembled to give you an overview of our group, its activities and bylaws. We hope that it will give you some basic information to make your entry into our group easier and more comfortable. By presenting aspects of our activities, we hope to entice you to attend one or more of the monthly events listed on the calendar of our monthly newsletter, the PHOENIX. The PHOENIX also lists the names of the members of the Executive Committee and appointed coordinators. These members are available to take your calls (or emails) for questions and more information about any aspect of our group's operations. We hope that you will take advantage of these services.

Little Yellow Map Pin -- the recognition symbol for MensaIMPORTANT DATES

~ April ~
Annual General Meeting
  • Old Board Finishes business;
  • New Board assembles, fills positions;
  • LocSec/President Appointed;
  • Board appoints or reappoints Secretary who begins taking minutes;
  • Board appoints or reappoints Treasurer, Editor and Parliamentarian;
  • Board confirms, reappoints and asks for volunteers for RG Chair, Coordinators and Proctors;
  • Board reviews ASIE (Actions still in effect)

~ July ~
RG Committee begins search for next year's hotel

~ August ~
Treasurer's report appears in the PHOENIX

~ September ~
Rivers Three RG (Regional Gathering)

~ October ~
Next Year's RG chair appointed

~ December ~
Teller appointed for election

~ February ~
Ballots deadline
Treasurer's report appears in the PHOENIX

~ March ~
Election results published in the PHOENIX
LocSec/President gets copies of bylaws prepared for incoming Board

Little Yellow Map Pin -- the recognition symbol for MensaHISTORY OF MENSA (Abbreviated)

Reprinted from 1997 Edition of Metropolitan Washington Mensa's Membership Handbook.

There is some disagreement as to the early history of Mensa. This seems as accurate an account as we could find.

On October 1, 1945, an international high-IQ club was created in England by Roland Berrill and Lancelot Lionel Ware, both involved in the study and practice of law. The primary purpose of Mensa was sociological and psychological research, with social contact only a secondary purpose. The "recognition signal" for Mensans was originally a yellow button sewn to the lapel (later a yellow pin, like a map pin).

Unfortunately, after giving birth to the club, Ware and Berrill nearly committed infanticide. Their autocratic and arbitrary method of running things, coupled with a general lack of organization, soon drove members away and left the newborn organization dying of malnutrition. Even Ware lost interest and let his membership lapse. If not for the single-handed efforts of Victor Serebriakoff, who jointed in 1950 and both inspired and restructured Mensa, the high-IQ club would have faded into oblivion, and you wouldn't be reading this now.

The first United States chapter was formed in Brooklyn on September 30, 1960, with five members present. Other local groups followed, including Western Pennsylvania Mensa in January 1964. Now there are over 8,000 Mensans around the world with about 43,000 in the United States. (Approximately five million people around the world quality for membership.) American Mensa Ltd. has local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Western Pennsylvania Mensa serves members in the western section of the state from the West Virginia border to Erie; and from Johnstown to the eastern-most part of Ohio, including the West Virginia panhandle.

A Regional Vice Chair represents the region on the American Mensa Committee (AMC). Nationally, Mensans vote every two years for members of the AMC, which is our governing body. Locally, our elections are held each year.

Mensa as an organization does not take stands on political, religious or social issues, but does fulfill its original goals of social and psychological research through MERF.

Little Yellow Map Pin -- the recognition symbol for MensaMENSA TERMINOLOGY How to Figure Out What Everyone is Saying.

  • AG: Annual gathering - yearly American Mensa "convention". A wonderful mix of interesting speakers, old friends, new friends, food, tours around the host city. A very large RG.
  • AMC: American Mensa Committee - the national board of directors.
  • AML: American Mensa Ltd. The official name of the American branch of Mensa.
  • ASIE: Actions Still In Effect. Decisions rendered by the AMC or local ExComm that will affect future administrations and member issues.
  • Bright Ideas: Quarterly publication dealing with gifted children's issues and information that is sent to editors, LocSecs and gifted children's coordinators.
  • Calendar Coordinator: Local volunteer responsible for gathering information about monthly local events and preparing the calendar of events for the PHOENIX.
  • Chairman: The highest elected official in American Mensa who presides over AMC meetings.
  • ExComm: Executive Committee - governing body of the local group comprised of local volunteers (elected or appointed).
  • FM: Female Mensan
  • FSM: Monthly event to assemble the PHOENIX (fold, staple, mail)
  • GC: Gifted Children. One of the major programs supported by American Mensa
  • IBD: International Board of Directors - comprised of elected representatives from many countries.
  • Interloc: Monthly publication for communication between the national SIGs, AMC and local officers. It is automatically sent to local and national officers and may be requested by any member at no charge.
  • Isolated M: A popular monthly publication initiated for members who are isolated geographically from a local group.
  • Kitty: Ante up to help defray the host's/hostess' costs to provide you with food and libation.
  • L.O.T.S.: Local Officers' Training Seminars - Regional weekend conference to share information and enhance leadership skills of Mensans interested in roles as officers in their local groups.
  • M: Any Mensan - plural is Ms.
  • MM: Male Mensan.
  • Mensa Boutique: Run by the national office, offering a selection of clothing, jewelry, books and other items of interest to Mensa members.
  • Mensa Bulletin: National Mensa newsletter that is published 10 times per year and includes the International Mensa Journal.
  • Mensaphone: Local telephone that provides information to prospective members about the organization, information about meetings to current members, etc. Western Pennsylvania Mensa's is (412)682-5565
  • MERF: Mensa Education and Research Foundation. Philanthropic non-profit, tax-exempt organization that provides scholarships (60) and encourages research into the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence.
  • Mensa World: Quarterly publication of International Mensa that promotes communication between groups worldwide.
  • NO: National Office (also referred to by some as as Central Intelligence disseminates information to the local groups as well as
  • NomCom: Nomination Committee. On the national level recommends at least one and usually two qualified and willing candidates for each elective office for the national election.
  • Ombudsman: Local member available to help mediate conflicts should they arise between members or between members and the Excomm. There is also a National Ombudsman.
  • RG: Regional Gathering - weekend meeting sponsored by and occurring in a specific region, but not limited to the local members. The theme of most RGs is "Y'all come!" There are talks, performances, games, food, and non-stop conversation and fun. RGs were originally planned as an alternative for members who were not able to attend the yearly AG.
  • RVC: Regional Vice Chairman - one of nine regional representatives who is a member of the AMC. YOUR GROUP is a part of Region 3, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
  • SIG: Special Interest Group - National or local groups of people with common interests, often including a newsletter for communication of ideas and information on a particular topic.
  • S.I.G.H.T.: Service of Information, Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers - local member who coordinate inquiries of Ms traveling in our area. There are national and international S.I.G.H.T. coordinators.
  • Teller: Person responsible for tallying ballots and publishing election notices and referendums and supervising elections.
  • YM: Young Mensan

Little Yellow Map Pin -- the recognition symbol for MensaEVENTS OF LOCAL INTEREST

LemonGrowers: Weekly group meeting at a local pub/restaurant to gather, talk, eat free happy munchies and enjoy your fellow Ms.

ExComm Meetings: The Executive Committee usually meets on a monthly basis. While members of the board are required to attend to conduct the business of the group, the meeting is open to all of the membership and they are encouraged to attend. A social period normally follows the meeting.

FSM: The monthly production phase of the local newsletter. Several Ms gather to collate, Fold, Staple and put labels on the newsletter for the monthly Mailing. A social atmosphere prevails throughout this working party and it is an excellent chance to get a sneak preview of upcoming events.

Games Night: This is a monthly event usually held in someone's home. Dinner is sometimes included. Board games, word games, and other mind bending games are very popular. Children are usually very welcome at this event.

New Members Night: A special event usually held one or two times a year to invite all new members to attend an informal meet-your-fellow-Ms. This atmosphere is friendly, and all new members as well as old members are encouraged to attend.

Signature Event: Approximately ten times each year an event is designated as the Signature Event and typically includes special festivities (such as the holiday party) or a guest speaker; a specific monetary contribution is specified to help offset expenses.

Little Yellow Map Pin -- the recognition symbol for MensaLOCAL OFFICER DESCRIPTIONS

LOCSEC: Local Secretary or President who presides at ExComm Meetings and is the liaison between the group and the National Office. The NO will send info to the LocSec each month for dissemination to the other Board members. A copy of the LocSec's handbook is available from the National Office that contains additional information.

TREASURER: Responsible for paying the bills of the group and handling the group's finances. A copy of the Treasurer's handbook is available from the National Office that contains additional information.

RG CHAIR: Person responsible for organizing, delegating, and causing the biggest party of the year to occur in the local group.

EDITOR: Probably one of the most important positions with any local group. The editor has contact with every single member of the group through the newsletter. The editor has the responsibility to create a newsletter that is interesting, lively, fun and an encouragement to all members to stay members. A copy of the Editor's handbook is available from the National Office that contains additional information.

RECORDING SECRETARY: This person is responsible for recording the minutes of the monthly ExComm meetings. Recording Secretaries should keep copies of all minutes in case they need to refer back to an earlier decision. It would also be helpful to keep a running list of ASIE (Actions Still in Effect) so each new ExComm does not have to "reinvent the wheel."

View the Western Pennsylvania Mensa -- BYLAWS

Little Yellow Map Pin -- the recognition symbol for Mensa AND FINALLY...

I really feel there is much more that I could have added to this, but if I delay any longer getting it out to all of you, you may never see it at all.

So such as it is - here it is. Enjoy.

Sincerely,  
Linda Hathaway  
RVC3  


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© 1998 - 1999 Amby Duncan-Carr   and   Linda Hathaway   All rights reserved.

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