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'Powerful' display in Saskatoon shares lives of students killed in Ukraine


Students at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) are highlighting stories of Ukrainian youth killed in the Russian invasion who were in school working towards a diploma or degree.

The solemn display, called Unissued Diplomas, shows the lives lost this past year and causes many to pause and reflect when passing through a quiet hallway on campus.

“It’s pretty powerful. I try to walk by it every day that I can, every day you see something new about someone,” Natalya Shevchuk from the Ukrainian Students’ Association told CTV News.

Shevchuk has read all 36 stories in the exhibit, but the most gripping for her is the one of a mother killed while in her home by a Russian bomb targeting a civilian area. Stories like that make the unassuming hallway outside of the St. Thomas More (STM) library the site of frequent reflection and tears.

“Lots of us Canadian-born students we’ve never experienced a war in our lifetime and hopefully will never have to,” she says.

The free exhibit in the upper hallway of STM college at the U of S chronicles the many unfulfilled lives of those between 17 and 22-years-old that ended because of the Russian invasion. It tells the stories of not just those serving on the front lines, but also civilians.

“Lots of these people in high school or even university diplomas were so close to receiving their diplomas and it wasn’t their choice that it was taken from them,” she says.

Thirty-six stories are displayed, 36 stories of young lives. The display has travelled to universities around the world.

“It was clear that it needed to make its way to the U of S because it did tell the stories of students whose lives were cut far, far too short,” Professor Nadya Foty-Oneschuk told CTV News.

While the events happening in Ukraine are significantly impacting many Ukrainians, Foty-Oneschuk is finding that it has a broad appeal.

“My colleague down the hall keeps sending me pictures of people stopping. Our hallway is never this busy,” she says.

Messages have been coming in since the exhibit went up on Sunday from passersby who appreciate the moving display.

“It draws people in and engages them in this very painful topic in a very unique way,” she says.

For students like Shevchuk, this hallway hits close to home as she worries about friends her age in Ukraine.

“I spent a year studying there out of high school so I have lots of friends who are part of dance ensembles who are being conscripted into the war,” she said.

The stories will remain up in this hallway gallery until Friday, but will continue moving across the country and the world beyond that. It can also be viewed online at the STM website. Top Stories

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