Special Interest Groups
Mensa has always encouraged members to congregate around their special interests. Official recognition of Mensa's special interest groups began on Sept. 13, 1965, when the first two SIGs were recognized: The Gifted Children Study Group and the Mensa Investment Club.
SIG growth exploded, from 23 to 106, during 1976 under the leadership of Groups Officer Virginia Hourigan. The program expanded almost tenfold from 1975 to 1977 and reached a record 248 groups in 1980. The organization's formal SIGs policy was adopted in 1984.
In recent years the total number of active SIGs has varied between 130 and 160. The SIGs program has evolved along with the Internet, now including many free online discussion groups. Many SIGs still offer a mailed newsletter and collect a small fee to help defray mailing costs. Some SIGs are open to non-Mensans, and many SIGs actively recruit Mensans internationally.