Cory Whitecap and Bia Pasqualini case study

Indigenous Partnerships for Sustainability

Students Cory Whitecap and Bia Pasqualini partner with Office of Sustainability to explore decolonizing ways to partner with Indigenous communities.


INDG 502 at UCalgary is built around experiential student projects that work with, by and for Indigenous-focused organizations (NGOs) and/or Indigenous communities. The focus is on exploring Indigenous and blended applied research methods and protocols where students apply ethical approaches to working with Indigenous peoples, organizations and communities through their projects. The purpose of each applied project is to help find practical solutions and build services by using community-based approaches.

For this particular project, INDG 502 students Cory Whitecap and Bia Pasqualini partnered with the Office of Sustainability to explore the following question: How should the Office of Sustainability approach Indigenous communities and partner with them for experiential learning opportunities, surrounding sustainability, in a decolonizing way? 

Through their project, Cory and Bia contributed their shared knowledge and research/ findings to learn about the Office of Sustainability while exploring various research methodologies, developing recommendations and suggestions concerning our topic question. Project recommendations included implementing community-based research, community champions, partnerships, various data collection methods to the recommendations and suggestions to create positive partnerships via decolonizing experiential learning when respectfully applied. 


  • Gathered data from scholarly articles/ websites and other publications concerning experiential learning for sustainability
  • Learned about the Office of Sustainability and documented possible sustainable Indigenous partnership projects that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Developed suggestions and proposals for prospective Indigenous sustainable projects and their implications through various research methods
  • Contributed combined research methods and knowledge for potential sustainable solutions to developmental challenges.
  • Presented findings to the project stakeholder and published a final report, which can be accessed below. 

Next Steps: 

  • The Office of Sustainability reviewed the report findings and is using Cory and Bia's work as a starting point to inform conversations around how to improve future partnership opportunities. 
  • Findings from this project will inspire other experiential learning projects between the INDG 502 class and Office of Sustainability.