Meaghan Haugh
As part of the CDLS’ Team Leadership challenge, student leaders compete in a cardboard canoe race.

As part of the CDLS’ Team Leadership challenge, student leaders compete in a cardboard canoe race.

After participating in a day of mini leadership sessions, 50 Rider University students had the chance to put their skills to the test when they were challenged to construct cardboard boats and race across the Richard A. Coppola Pool on the Lawrenceville campus on April 18. What resulted was a splash.

As part of the Center for the Development of Leadership Skills’ Team Leadership Challenge, “Navigating Your Path to Success,” participants had about an hour to construct their boats out of cardboard, plastic bags and tape. Then the teams paraded their boats over to the pool, where only one of the 11 teams managed to keep its boat afloat.

Cindy Maksimow of Hamilton, N.J., a freshman Accounting major, and Kristin Anderson of Middlesex, N.J., a sophomore Behavioral Neuroscience major, paddled swiftly across the pool, while their teammates watched from the sidelines.

“The cardboard did not get wet because we used the plastic bags effectively,” Maksimow said. “We took our time and made it look like a boat.”

Call it luck, fate or good construction – maybe it all came down to the team’s name – “Save the Whales.”

The team wore decorated navy blue T-shirts and won the “Most Team Spirit” award. The rest of the team included Danielle Hong of Garnet Valley, Pa., a freshman Biology major, Heather Shupe of Belvidere, N.J., a freshman Journalism major, and Kathleen Eliya of Midland Park, N.J., a freshman Chemistry major.
Dominique Smith, a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program, facilitated the leadership sessions. Topics included leadership styles, interpersonal skills, such as communicating, influencing and teamwork, intrapersonal awareness, goal setting, time management and conflict resolution. The other awards were “Best Cohesive Team” and “Most Creative Canoe.”

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 housed in the Center.