When we launched the Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) nearly two years ago, we hoped it would provide guidance and inspiration for the UBC community and beyond. Being able to invest in our commitments and enable student-led projects to come to life and have a genuine impact in our communities is a crucial step in the process of advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples as well as the journey towards reconciliation.
That’s why we set up the Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Fund (ISI)— a cross-campus initiative at the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses. The Fund directly supports the advancement of the eight goals and 43 actions of the UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP).
The Fund amalgamates two years of funding for a total of $4 million across three funding streams – Stream 1: Innovative Projects; Stream 2: Transformative Projects and Stream 3: Student-led Projects.
For Stream 3, UBC students were invited to submit a proposal – including a budget request – by January of this year. Applications were reviewed by an adjudication committee who made funding recommendations to the Indigenous Strategic Plan Executive Advisory Committee and the Indigenous Strategic Plan Coordinating Committee.
Some recipients of the ISI Fund have already been given the green light to start implementing their proposed Indigenous-focused, student-led projects with the backing of university funding. These projects include:
- creating professional development opportunities for Indigenous students at the UBC Okanagan campus in science, engineering, technology and mathematics programs;
- fostering an environment that increases Indigenous engagement within the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC;
- organizing writing retreats for Indigenous graduate students and faculty;
- expanding First Nations collaborative education, development, advocacy, and research through the creation of an online hub for students, researchers, and the larger UBC community to enact reconciliation, on Indigenous terms;
- establishing community amongst Indigenous Masters of Physical Therapy students in the context of learning about healthcare within an Indigenous scope;
- creating a better understanding of Indigenous food security in Syilx Territory food systems and finding opportunities to revitalize and promote traditional knowledge; and
- mitigating the health risks associated with ecologically unsound environments and revitalizing Indigenous ecological knowledge and practices in the DTES via community gardening and community education.
Successful submissions for the other two streams will be announced next month, which also marks the two-year anniversary of the Indigenous Strategic Plan launch. There is also a one-time-only Special Fund created to fund graduate research, temporarily filling an unmet need associated with the unique costs of Indigenous community-based research.
I am proud of what we have accomplished and I am confident we will accomplish even more as we walk the long road to reconciliation. I invite you to learn more about the Indigenous Initiatives Fund and the Indigenous Strategic Plan.
- More information on the ISI Fund and the successful student-led projects can be found here
- More information on the Special Fund here
- Read the UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan here
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor