by Anthony Krueger
On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 4:15 PM, students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Hudson Hall Auditorium at Mount Saint Mary College. This was the setting for the first of three programs being held as part of the “Leadstrong Series” here at the Mount. The series, according to Jess Mushel, Leadership Development Coach, “is designed around our student leaders and meant to teach transferable skills for the Mount and beyond”
Caitlin Houlihan, Assistant Director of Student Activities, welcomed members of the Student Government Association and other eager students to “Who Moved My Cheese.” Before Caitlin introduced her partners for the day, she offered a variety of cheese and crackers as a snack to get the creative juices flowing.
With stomachs full and curiosity growing in the auditorium, Caitlin introduced Jess, Paul Habernig, Resident Director, and Danielle Lindner, Mount Saint Mary College’s swim coach. This fantastic four was assembled to instruct and execute a lesson important for young leaders to learn.
Without further delay, the lights were dimmed and projector lowered. After a brief introduction, Jess hit play on a ten minute YouTube video entitled, “Who Moved My Cheese.” The video, recommended for anyone to watch and enjoy, follows the day by day search for cheese of Hem and Haw (two little men) as well as Sniff and Scurry (two mice). The four of them wake up everyday setting out into a maze in search of new cheese to sit down and enjoy. The quartet had split into two groups of two, Sniff and Scurry leaving early in the day to station C for cheese, followed later in the day by Hem and Haw. Now as the days came and went, so did the cheese in station C. The mice were noticing the decrease in cheese, whereas Hem and Haw did not.
However, for Hem and Haw, they were unable to detect the decrease of cheese, causing them to spend day after day returning to the empty station C, hoping to find new cheese placed in its spot. Eventually, Sniff and Scurry found a bigger supply of new cheese in Station N. This spot was later found by Haw, would swallowed his fear and realized that new cheese wasn’t going to come to him, instead he would have to search for it. So with a less than eager Hem left in station C to pout and starve, Haw embarked deep into the mace leaving a bread crumb trail that helped him find his way every day.
A stubborn Hem never, or at least to the knowledge of the viewer, met up with Haw, Scurry and Sniff. His inability to change and adapt left him alone and without cheese.
Shortly after the conclusion of the film, the students in the room were separated into four groups; each representing a character of the movie. Paul lead the group thinking as Haw, Jess leading those as Hem, Caitlin rallying together the “Sniffs,” and Danielle ready to encourage her group representing Scurry. After a period of about ten minutes or so, the groups came back together as one body to give descriptions of their character and based on those characteristics explain how they would solve a provided problem. The discussion and atmosphere was calm and inviting.
Leaders are meant to be adaptable, easy going, willing to invite change and never be afraid to try something more than one way. Don’t let someone moving your cheese keep you from your ultimate goal.
If you were a part of the fun or are interested in the upcoming events from the “Leadstrong Series,” then make sure to mark your calendars: “Changing Hats at the Drop of a Hat” – March 19 th and “Public Speaking” – April 9th.