The American Sign Language Community is vastly represented on the VSU campus, consisting of an ASL club, the Theme Community and one of the biggest ASL programs in the country.
VSU has a rigorous ASL program, where students get hands-on experience to prepare them for working in many different settings such as in K-12 and post-secondary public education, including in the community, freelance and staff interpreting positions.
Once named SpARC, the Theme Community is housed in Hopper Hall at VSU.
“The community provides an opportunity for all students who are deaf, hearing and hard-of-hearing to live together in a community where they can use and practice American Sign Language in daily living,” Sarrah Taouil, ASL SpARC resident assistant, said.
The community is also open to non-ASL majors in hopes that it may spark someone’s interest in the Deaf community, due to being surrounded by a new language and understanding of a culture.
“I have already had some non-Deaf education/non-ASL majors tell me they’re interested in learning ASL,” Taouil said. “So, I believe that it might be important to bring in people who aren’t in the major because it’s important for anyone and everyone to have at least a little understanding of Deaf culture and know some signs.”
The success of students relies heavily upon their connection to the campus community. With providing a diverse floor catered towards the Deaf community, experience and education can be offered to deaf students and their hearing counterparts. This helps them connect and understand each other.
The hall also brings awareness to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community on VSU’s campus and extends students’ understanding.
The goal of the ASL club is to help students learn sign language and communicate with other Deaf students. They practice signing and interacting with others through ASL.
“My favorite thing about the club is that I enjoy seeing members sign to each other because I am deaf.” Chase Webb, President of the ASL Club, said. “The members are willing to learn signs which makes me happy.”
The last two meetings for the fall semester will take place on Nov. 18 and Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in Bailey Science Center 3009. It is too late in the semester for new members; however, they will be accepting new members for the spring 2022 semester.
There are currently 30 members, and the only requirement is a $20 membership fee.
On Fri. Nov. 12, Deaf Field Day was held with a travel theme. Students who attended the event went through the destinations that consisted of activities, games, famous landmarks and insight into the countries’ local Deaf communities.
“The mission of Deaf Field Day is to promote deaf culture, language development and social growth for deaf children in South Georgia,” Kelly Spell, staff interpreter, said. “Our vision is that deaf children will interact with each other, deaf adults and other signers in a fun, open and diverse setting. We hope that they will meet others like them and realize that they are not alone through this interaction.”
Many students who live in Hopper Hall attended or participated in the event and enjoyed the “Around the World” theme.
Written by Sam Acevedo, staff reporter. Photo courtesy of Flickr.