Shawn Russell’s assiduous efforts to enhance diversity, pluralism and multiculturalism at UM-Dearborn have made him a person to watch on campus and in the community.
Shawn paved the way for inclusion as inter-faith dialogue coordinator for the campus’s Association for Diversity and Unity, which works to facilitate an accord among UM-Dearborn’s Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist populations. He also did his part to educate the student body about pluralism and the beauty of different cultures by serving on the Global Fest planning committee. Being a student representative to Awareness Impacting Change equipped Shawn with practical tools necessary to eradicate social-injustice, hate and bigotry.
“I am extremely glad that I have been a part UM-Dearborn’s initiative of creating harmony through an admiration and perpetuation of diversity and the abolition of various social injustices by raising awareness in the campus and the community,” he says.
Shawn’s quest for inclusion also extends to his off-campus activities, where he educates Hamtramck’s immigrant population, coaches Hamtramck’s youth and teaches English to new South Asian immigrants alongside various Bangladeshi cultural organizations.
All this from the guy who didn’t think he had a shot at attending a decent four year university, let alone one of the best universities in the Midwest.
“It seemed like all the statistics were against me. I graduated from a high school that has a 52% graduation rate, well below the state average, while living in one of the most impoverished cities in Michigan,” he says. “Getting accepted to UM-Dearborn was one of the most important accomplishments of my life.”
IN MY OWN WORDS
"The most meaningful and purpose-driven activities I participated in UM-Dearborn sought to exalt and perpetuate diversity and pluralism. UM-Dearborn creates not just scholars and athletes but people of conscience and activists striving for social-inclusiveness. Thus being an inter-faith dialogue coordinator for ADU allowed me to facilitate harmony amongst the various faiths on campus. These dialogues showed that religious hostilities are unnecessary because all faiths have common ethical values."