College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters Dean's Medallion recipient: Daniel J. Arini
Daniel J. Arini is earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies with a Resource Policy and Management concentration and a minor in Geography. He is graduating with the honor of High Distinction. Daniel has contributed to environmental causes and social impact in a range of venues at the university. As treasurer of the UM-Dearborn ECO Club, he and other club members have focused on reducing the impacts of palm oil via divestment campaigns on and off campus. Daniel is also a co-founder of the Climate Action Movement student organization. He participates in both the Turn up Turnout and Dinners for Democracy programs at the University of Michigan, which have goals to increase voter participation and educate on voting topics, respectively. He mentors other undergraduates through the Wolverine Mentor Collective and has volunteered at the UM-Dearborn Environmental Interpretive Center.
Outside organizations have recognized Daniel’s accomplishments. In 2019, he was a Summit Award recipient, based on a service project he led to plant trees, remove invasive species, and maintain infrastructure at Maybury State Park. In 2020, he earned a Udall Foundation Scholar honorable mention. In 2021, he was selected to be part of the United Nations Millennium Fellowship program, an international leadership development program focused on social impact. As a Millennium Fellow, Daniel is currently developing an online 3D museum space for team-based environmental activism. Daniel completed an internship for the City of Dearborn in Summer 2021. Through this sustainability-focused internship, Daniel completed a report for the city titled “Community Resiliency through an Equity Lens: Benchmarking and Recommendations for the City of Dearborn.” The goal of this internship and resulting report was to initiate Dearborn’s urban environmental resilience planning. Daniel’s internship was supervised by UM-Dearborn alumnus Dave Norwood, who is now Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Dearborn. According to Norwood, Daniel’s work was exceptional and he “absolutely knocked it out of the park.”
Daniel intends to attend graduate school and plans to pursue research on open educational pedagogies and resources. Aside from continuing his studies, Daniel also plans to devote time to sustainability issues, such as palm-oil reduction and replacement of resource-intensive turfgrasses with native permaculture plantings.