BY Angela Vivona
Sacred Heart University offers a club for students to learn and practice American Sign Language (ASL).
“I wanted to learn more about American Sign Language and the culture that comes along with it. American Sign Language takes a lot of dedication and drive to be able to fully learn,” said senior ASL Club President, Colleen Casey.
Casey joined the ASL Club her sophomore year.
The club is student run, with an advisor and a few Graduate students who help run it as well.
“I joined the club because it applies to my field of study and I’m super interested in it. It’s hard to be a hearing person in the deaf community, but, trying to use it in the right way is a challenge that I’m trying to accomplish,” said senior Michelle Munos.
According to the Sacred Heart University website, “The ASL club exposes sign language to the Sacred Heart community. The club provides insight on a culture that sometimes isn’t widely recognized as other languages and cultures.”
Munos has been a member of the club for a year and plans to apply the skills she has learned in the club in her future profession.
“I plan to be a Speech Language Pathologist and hopefully work in a school with children. I would love to know sign language to be able to work with these children, because most children who might be behind in language might have a hearing loss of some sort, where sign would help,” said Munos.
Students can learn sign language with the group and the club also provides an environment for those already skilled in ASL to sign with others.
“The club has taught me not only sign, but also how to interact well with people in the deaf community as well. When signing, you need to use facial expressions as if you were speaking with someone, so that way the person knows the context you’re talking to them with,” said Munos.
Students learn not only how to sign, but also about the deaf culture and community.
“This semester, we learned about deaf culture and how important it is to the deaf community. Being deaf is not a disability, but a part of people’s lives that we need to embrace and support; American Sign language is the connect that hearing people have to those who are hearing impaired and deaf. ASL gives the connection of communication to others in a way that is unlike any other language,” said Casey.
Casey plans to use the skills she learned in the club in her future profession.
“I hope to one day become a social worker and help individuals in a way that creates a better society for all. I think that it is important to know American Sign Language because communication is one of the most basic things that we do as humans and to be able to communicate with all individuals is very important to me,” said Casey. “It is important to learn a language like American Sign Language. It can give a perspective on how others use different forms of communication in their daily lives.”
“We have learned so many different helpful signs I may need for the future that each student can use differently for their own profession. For example, we have learned medical signs that can be so important in an emergency situation or helpful to students going into the medical field. We have also learned funny signs and common language that we may need to just have a regular conversation and communicate with someone deaf,” said Munos.
The club wants to help students form an understanding of the deaf community and allow them to pick up helpful language for that community.