The American Sign Language Club, also known as the ASL Club, is making strides to be inclusive of all who are interested in learning their language.
The ASL Club has been around for many years on UAA’s grounds, but at the start of this fall semester they restarted to become more established on campus.
“We’re working on trying to create a little community and support group for the students taking ASL or for those who are just interested in learning ASL,” Amy Cahalane, senior accounting student and ASL Club president, said.
The club has around 10 to 14 members, and they spend time at meetings talking about upcoming events, signing with each other and meeting new students. Since UAA does not offer ASL as a major or minor, students may overlook the idea of taking ASL other than to fulfill their humanities GERs or as an elective. Part of the ASL Club’s goal is to encourage students to further their sign language knowledge beyond the classes offered at UAA.
“It’s been a good resource for the deaf community to connect with UAA,” Jennifer Lincoln, junior journalism and public communications student and ASL Club vice president, said. “In the past, when the ASL Club wasn’t as strong, there was kind of a disconnect between the deaf community and UAA, so slowly rebuilding that has been really good.”
The club has organized an event at Kaladi Brothers Coffee called “Signing Saturdays,” which occur every second Saturday of the month. Their last event boasted over 50 people of both the hearing and the deaf community signing with each other over a cup of coffee, in a small, reserved section of the cafe.
“It’s great the see the people show up and the variety as well,” Cahalane said.
Students taking ASL classes at UAA are required to attend signing events as part of class to become more comfortable with signing with others and learning from each other. Signing Saturday may fulfill the requirement upon the professor’s discretion.
“There are so many other applications [to ASL] beyond just ‘I want to communicate with [the deaf],'” Heather Swanson, ASL Club staff advisor, said.
The ASL Club’s meetings are typically on Wednesday evenings, though the date changes each month. For questions or more information, contact the club at email@example.com.