Normally, spectators come to Rider University’s Maurer Center to watch the Broncs swimming and diving teams compete, but on Sunday, April 18, onlookers will be cheering on 100 Rider students as they race across Richard A. Coppola Pool — in cardboard canoes.

The Center for the Development of Leadership Skills’ (CDLS) Team Leadership Challenge, “Navigating Your Path to Success,” will include mini-leadership sessions and activities, which will provide student leaders with specific skills in order to complete the final challenge — the cardboard canoe race.

The event will begin at noon on the basketball courts in the Student Recreation Center, where Dominique Smith, a student in the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program, will facilitate the sessions. Topics will include leadership styles; interpersonal skills, such as communicating, influencing and teamwork; intrapersonal awareness; goal setting; time management and conflict resolution.

“It is our goal to enable current and aspiring student leaders to make the connection between the skills that they will acquire throughout each activity in order for them to meet their final challenge,” said Smith, a graduate residence director.

Students will be divided into teams of five and will be given cardboard, plastic bags and tape to build their boats, which they will construct on the basketball courts before relocating them over to the pool in the Maurer Center.

“These activities will provide students with the opportunity to better understand the role and impact of relationships in building a community and accomplishing group tasks,” Smith said. “They will also have the opportunity to identify personal leadership qualities and gain transferable skills that they can utilize beyond this day and this challenge.”

As part of her capstone assignment for LEAD 598: Project Seminar in Organizational Leadership, Smith is helping to organize the event with Laura Seplaki, associate director of the CDLS and director of the Leadership Development Program, and Dianna Clauss, assistant director of Campus Life for Recreation Programs.

Organizers anticipate that 100 students representing the Leadership Development Program (LDP), Student Government Association, sororities and fraternities, and Residence Halls Association, will participate.

“Any student interested in leadership development is invited to participate,” Smith said. “We hope student organizations will see this as an opportunity not only to strengthen their own leadership skills, but also the leadership efficacy of their organizations.”

Since 2004, the Center for the Development of Leadership Skills has served as the leadership training and education resource for the entire University and its surrounding community. The Center, has hosted a number of programs designed for women in transition, aspiring executive leaders, student performers in the arts and athletics, as well as lecture series, leadership trips and career workshops. The Leadership Development Program, a four-year program designed for undergraduate students, is also housed in CDLS.