A new, interactive exhibit on USF’s campus is promoting education, diversity and social justice this week in honor of Genocide Awareness Month this April.

USF senior Correena Spangler, who is a political and social science double major is organizing the event, called Clairaudience, because awareness of such social issues is a passion of hers. The name reflects the need to “clearly listen” to the lessons of the past.

Inspiration behind this event comes from a relationship Spangler made with Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher. With two visits to USF’s campus, Auerbacher’s remarkable story of surviving Terezin Concentration Camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia during WWII has not only impacted Spangler but also the entire USF community. Auerbacher receives an honorary doctorate from USF this May.

 “Genocide has taken 100 million lives since World War II,” Spangler said. “The Clairaudience event is an interactive experience where we can learn about what happened, increase our empathy and compassion, and it provides opportunities for us to be a part of the change, healing and prevention of genocide from a local to international level.”

The entire event is free and open to the public and includes:

  • Tunnel of Oppression 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on April 4-6 in the lower level of the Jeschke Fine Arts Center
  • Showing of the documentary “Rising from the Ashes” 7 p.m. on April 4 in Salsbury Science Center, Z-Hall
  • Speaker’s Panel 7:30 p.m. on April 6 in Meredith Auditorium, which includes people who have been directly affected by genocide in six different countries from around the globe.

The Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive experience, highlighting the genocides which occurred in Native America, focusing especially on South Dakota; the institution of Slavery; World War II; Rwanda; Bosnia; Liberia; Sudan and Syria. Each station will include displayed information and iconic symbols from each genocide as well as live actors dressed in character, delivering a short monologue from an actual person during the time.                                    

“Rising from the Ashes” is a short documentary about the Rwandan Cycling team and how even something as unsuspecting as bicycles can be used to unite a broken country and facilitate healing.

The final night’s speaker’s panel includes discussion by people who have been directly affected by genocide in Sudan, Bosnia, Liberia, Native America and Congo/Rwanda.

Counselors will be available each evening to facilitate a small group discussion on dehumanization, processing trauma and an overall time of reflection and decompression. Lutheran Social Services will also be present to share information about their relocation program and how others can be involved in assisting the newest members of the Sioux Falls community.

“This exhibit is a great example of USF’s motto, Culture for Service, in action,” said Nathan Hofer, Student Activities Director for USF. “We hope that this event will highlight the importance of diversity and understanding in our world, and it will help create passionate advocates of social justice here and abroad.” 

“Our intention is that by learning about different organizations from the local to international level that are working to provide prevention, intervention and relief in cases of genocide around the world, proactive awareness can transform it into international impact,” Spangler said. “This is an opportunity to tell the truth about genocide and give hope a direction for immediate action. Too often our actions are responsive rather than proactive, and thus they are too late.” 

Spangler organized the event in partnership with the National Society of Leadership and Success as well as USF’s Service Core and Cougar Activities Board.