After almost twenty years with our Faculty, Associate Professor Alejandro Rojas retired in July 2015. Appointed as sessional instructor in 1996, he was granted tenure and promoted to the rank of Senior Instructor in 2004, and subsequently as an Associate Professor in 2010.
Rojas is the driving force behind the Think&EatGreen@School (TEGS) Project, which aims to connect Vancouver K–12 students to food and sustainability issues while helping schools lighten their ecological footprint and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past five years, the TEGS program has made an invaluable contribution to ecological education for students, and has had wide-reaching impacts throughout the Lower Mainland educational community.
“We’ve exposed students to meal planning and preparations with local, seasonal ingredients that have a low-carbon footprint,” said Rojas. “Our hope is that kids will receive the tools they need to make better choices about the food they eat because healthy food is ultimately better for our planet as a whole.”
The project has been a great success, thanks in large part to Rojas’ leadership. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was recently drafted to facilitate and formalize the collaboration between the Centre of Sustainable Food Systems and the Vancouver School Board, so the important work of the Think&EatGreen@School project will continue. Although he will no longer be leading the project, Rojas plans to stay involved.
In September 2010, he was profiled as a leading scientist on the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development’s Year of Science website, a school year long program to inspire young minds across the province and foster a culture of research and innovation. Rojas was also the 2015 recipient of the Canadian Association for Food Studies Excellence in Food Studies Award. This important award is given each year to only one scholar in recognition to his life achievements in research and teaching and community service.