UTown@UBC Community Champions: Estefanía Milla-Moreno

Source: UBC UTown

Estefania Milla-Moreno is a PhD candidate in Dr. Rob Guy’s Tree Physiology lab at the Faculty of Forestry. Originally from Chile, she has lived on the UBC campus for the past nine years and is an active member of the Latin community in Greater Vancouver. She is a UBC Public Scholar and a member of the Forestry Diversity Crew and the UBC Rueda Club on campus. Estefania’s involvement with the UTown@UBC Community Grant started when she recieved funding to launch a film festival called Voices from All Around. Since then, Estefania has sat on the UTown@UBC Community Grant selection committee for four cycles, and recently applied and was awarded a Community of Caring grant for Masks for All, a project to sew and distribute free homemade masks to residents of Acadia park. 

We asked her a few questions about her work in the community, including her experience with delivering her successful UTown@UBC Community Grant project, a film festival called Voices from All Around.­ 

What kind of community building projects are you currently involved in?

I am part of the Forestry Diversity Crew, which is a collective created in February 2016 at the Faculty of Forestry to raise awareness about inclusion and equity, while celebrating diversity. We organize cultural events, set up conflict theatre events with the help of Tom Scholte, and co-host workshops with the Equity and Inclusion Office, such as unconscious biases in teaching assistants and Positive Space, among other events throughout the year. I have been involved for eight years in the Chilean Canadian Network of Researchers (REDICEC), building and strengthening collaboration among researchers in these two countries.

What inspired you to jumpstart Voices from All Around?

Voices from All Around was a project funded by a UTown@UBC Community Grant. The objective of this project was to foster inclusion and connection within the UBC community through film screenings, panel discussions, and food tasting from different cultures.

We, Jose Arias-Bustamante, María Jose Torrejón, Victor Acuña, Nancy Meiling and myself, hoped to bond families to their origins and to also embrace the multiculturalism of our community. We wanted to bring a program to the Acadia Park community that everyone could find relatable. For each event, we looked for people native from each continent – which at times as very difficult, but in the end, it’s was amazing to see neighbours from all ages and places such as Chile, China, India, Iran, Colombia and Antarctica!

What is your favourite part of the UBC community?

I really love the multicultural aspect of this community. I prefer to embrace what makes us different culturally, rather than trying to fit in or blend into an average of us all.  I have learned so much from my neighbors and I’m always in awe of the ways they find to keep celebrating their culture, especially for their children’s heritage.