Students, faculty, and staff pose for a picture
Photo by Kayless Chalmers

From late September through Oct. 24, 2019, the exhibit Transforming the Human Spirit (TTHS) will be displayed on the first floor of Swenson Hall. An opening reception was held on Sept. 24 at noon.

TTHS was created by the Soka Gakkai International organization. They are a Buddhist community with formal ties to the United Nations, who seek to raise awareness about sustainable development, human rights, and peace.

The University of Wisconsin-Superior interim provost, Dr. Maria Cuzzo, provided opening remarks about the display. Following, a ceremonial ribbon was cut by Cuzzo to signify the exhibit’s beginning. The exhibit is available by Don Mattsson, who was responsible for bringing the exhibit to campus.

Regarding the exhibit’s purpose, Mattsson said, “I really hope [the exhibit] helps many people understand that…we have to make a personal commitment to challenging some aspect of our life. [We’re] creating a gap between [ourselves] and other people and to close that gap, to remove the sense of there being an ‘other’…[we] need to take action on engaging people in dialogue based on hope and courage, create a sense that we’re all profoundly similar, and address the difficulties we face as a culture now and as a society, and transform those into something that benefits all people.”

Cuzzo hopes those that attend had an interactive learning experience and considered the ideas TTHS presented in a liberal arts way. “There’s a lot of good information and it’s a great learning experience. It’s an inspiring thing. And that’s why we do this.”

Through vivid imagery and words, the exhibit conveys the power of individuals to change society. It explores the root causes of violence and the importance of individual actions that can foster a culture of peace on a personal, local, and global level.

Sam Moscatelli, a student at UWS, said, “[TTHS] is inspirational… Right now we have a lot of problems that get told to us again and again through the media, but with this exhibit, it talks about the problems at their roots… If we want to take out these problems, we have to…dig them straight out of the ground as opposed to just talking about the surface level problems.”

Danielle Fagen, UWS’s outreach program manager for continuing education, gave tours of the exhibit to students and faculty alike. Her hope for those that visit is to “leave with a sense they have the power to create a culture [and] the idea of hope—that it is possible, that change always begins with us… The goal [is] to bring awareness to peace and humanistic principles.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public. To schedule a guided tour, contact Danielle Fagen. She can be contacted by phone at 715 394-8456 or in person in Old Main room 102C.