Meet Alexander Arcari, CEDAM’s MHC Corps Program Coordinator

Please welcome CEDAM’s newest staff member, Alexander! He joins CEDAM with a political science and manufacturing program coordinator background, eager to lend his knowledge and experience to move the MHC Corps program forward and assist service members. 

Jennifer Lareau-Gee, Communications Specialist: Can you give me a brief overview of what you were doing before joining CEDAM and how that led you here?

Alexander Arcari, MHC Corps Program Coordinator: Before joining CEDAM, I worked in the manufacturing industry, specifically in the Gage manufacturing industry. I’ve worked in a variety of roles within the industry since the age of about 15 or 16. I first started working as a machinist. Eventually, I grew into a quality control position. Then, I worked briefly as an administrative assistant. Most recently, before joining CEDAM, I worked as a project coordinator. In that role, I monitored the ongoing manufacturing projects across the shop floor to ensure they were completed on time and within budget.

I studied political science in college. Throughout my undergraduate experience, I knew I wanted to do something about climate change policy. I really became attracted to this role specifically because while I was an undergrad student, in my law and politics course I think, I wrote a policy analysis of Governor Whitmer’s Michigan Healthy Climate Plan. When I saw there was a job opening for an MI Healthy Climate (MHC) Corps program coordinator at CEDAM, I felt like it was perfect. It was a position with elements I had experience with and a topic I was passionate about. I would have a hand in supporting the MHC Corps members in their service and making sure that they are able to achieve their climate change initiatives during their time serving.

Jennifer: Did you see yourself doing something more directly with political science? How do you see your political science background working with climate policy?

Alexander: A lot of my collegiate background is in international relations and international political theory. I also have a passion for languages and studied Spanish in college. The idea of utilizing foreign language skills, as well as my experience in politics, was always my goal. Simultaneously, I knew it was going to be very difficult because many internships and fellowships with the State Department are necessary during college. At the time, it just wasn’t feasible for me. But you never know what happens in the future; there may be an opportunity to accomplish those goals in a different way that may take a little longer. That could mean traveling abroad or throughout the country to discuss climate change initiatives. This position opens multiple opportunities for framing that work through a climate policy lens.

Jennifer: What are you looking forward to most in this role, working at CEDAM?

Alexander: One of the aspects of my role that I’m most looking forward to is utilizing my project management experience as well as my undergraduate education to further the goals of the Michigan Healthy Climate Plan by helping service members complete their climate change initiative at their host site. This role also presents an opportunity to push for more spotlight on climate change initiatives in Michigan. Michigan is a hub of climate change and I think it would be a good opportunity to shine the light on what Michigan is doing to combat climate change, not only in Michigan but also abroad.

Jennifer: What excites you most about community development as a field?

Alexander: What excites me the most is you can see your direct impact on the communities within Michigan. That’s something that excites me about my role and working with CEDAM. I know the work I do directly impacts the communities where these host sites are located.

Jennifer: What do you want to get out of this role?

Alexander: There are two things that I want to accomplish in this role. I want to be somebody the service members can rely on. A support person they know watches over them and is there to help if they need it.

I also want to utilize my experience to learn and become an expert on climate change in Michigan. Because of the scope of the MHC Corps, I know my time here at CEDAM will be well spent and it will allow me to learn about the different climate change issues and initiatives to combat climate change in Michigan. I do have a little science background but my entire undergraduate experience was not spent learning about climate change, especially regarding climate change in Michigan. I am looking forward to learning in-depth what climate change looks like in Michigan. I’m excited to see how I can apply that down the line in the future and how I can use that knowledge to support future members.

Lightning round get-to-know-you questions.

What’s the last book you read?
The Art of Living a Meaningful Existence by Robert Pantano

What’s a current or recent TV/movie you enjoyed?
Dune 2, I also enjoy watching anime (Solo Leveling), Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Japan. For a lot of reasons. One, I’ve never been. Two, I can practice my Japanese. Three, I identify a lot with Japanese society and the culture there. Also, it’s a beautiful country.

What was the last concert you attended?
I went to the symphony with my mom and my sister.

Do you have any hobbies right now?
Golf, traveling, language learning, gardening.

Alexander in Cádiz, Spain.