The 2020 Ursa Experience was set to occur August 10-12, until sanitation concerns led to its cancellation. The event is catered towards new students to facilitate their transition to college life. Participants will receive full refunds, according to the Missouri State website.

“Missouri State is the only school in the state of Missouri that hosts this type of program,” said Dee Siscoe, vice president of student affairs. “The main consequences of the cancellation for the majors is the missed opportunity to mentor new students and take part in the general experience.”

Majors are students who are selected as small group leaders, according to Joe Morris, director of orientation and transfer programs. 

The decision to cancel was a group effort, through consulting the dean of students Michele Smith, Dee Siscoe and University President Clif Smart.

“Part of the Ursa Experience involves students being in close quarters with each other, such as riding to an off-campus retreat site on buses and rooming in bunk-style rooms there,” Morris said. “Knowing this, we decided to cancel the program.”

According to the school website, student participants spend time learning about various student organizations, additional leadership opportunities and familiarize themselves with the Public Affairs statement through games and activities. It is a 3 day, 2 night event, available for transfer students as well as those new to college.

As a result of the cancellation, Ursa majors will have to look out for other leadership opportunities in the meantime, since the event has no preconceived substitute.

“I suspect it will be tougher to recruit people next year because of the temporary pause we’ve taken this year, but we’re up for those challenges,” Morris said. 

However, the benefits of becoming an Ursa major are endless, Morris said.

“There’s a low time commitment, but such a tremendous opportunity to change another student’s experience at MSU for the better,” Morris said.

Those interested in future involvement can contact Orientation & Transitions Programs at

“We’ll begin recruiting new Ursa Majors early the Spring 2021 semester, so be on the lookout for more details,” Morris said.

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