By Alexander Edelson
Long lines of students in the Brower Student Center for meal equivalency on Tuesday, March 30 were rivaled by those formed to celebrate deaf culture at the College Union Board’s Sign Language Nooner. The event featured free sugar cookies, chocolate sign language molds, alphabet magnets and a popular wax hands station.
“The turnout has been amazing and people have been lining up all day. I’m very happy” commented Will Kline, a sophomore communications studies major and CUB member who helped plan the event. “We co-sponsored this event with the Deaf Hearing Connection club and basically it’s just to celebrate deaf awareness and sign language.”
Instead of looking at the deaf community as disabled or disadvantaged, the Deaf Hearing Connection chooses to celebrate the deaf community.
“Our club is about connecting people who can hear to deafness and deaf culture,” said Fabriana Andriella, a junior deaf education and psychology double major, and president of Deaf Hearing Connection. “We hope people see it less as a disability and more as part of their identity. It’s something so much greater than a disability.”
All of the stations included in the event showed that deaf culture can be fun. The wax dipping station allowed participants the opportunity to have their hands memorialized in a personalized, colorful wax mold of their favorite hand sign or gesture. The chocolate sign language molds were a fun way to expose those unfamiliar with sign language to the fundamentals of signing.
The Deaf Hearing Connection has been working for several years to bridge the gap between the deaf and the hearing. Five years ago, the club organized a bus trip to Gallaudet University, a bilingual institution in Washington D.C. that caters to the deaf and hard of hearing community by using both English and American Sign Language on campus.
Normally, the Deaf Hearing Connection hosts a day-long celebration of deaf culture every semester. While the club was unable to host the celebration this semester, they were grateful to partner with CUB to host the nooner as an extension of their usual events.
“CUB has the budget to give out things for free, and I wanted to take the opportunity to put on an event like this. It’s not like you can do this type of thing every day,” Andriella said.