Club Feature: American Sign Language

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 at 9:14 PM

In the early 1800s, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet lived next to a young girl who was deaf. Gallaudet went to Europe to find out how to communicate with the girl; while he was there, he met Laurent Clerc, a sign language instructor who taught him how to sign.

Eventually, the two of them returned to America together and founded the American School for the Deaf.

According to the University of Vermont, between 100,000 and 500,000 people today use American Sign Language (ASL).

Here at Edinboro University, the ASL Club consists of about 15 people who attend weekly meetings to improve their understanding of ASL.

The description of the club on its BoroSync page says: “The purpose of the Edinboro ASL Club shall be to improve the University and local community through community service projects, as well as to enhance the educational and social experiences of its members. Furthermore, Edinboro ASL Club will strive to create awareness of the Deaf culture in the Edinboro community, while acquiring functional communicative abilities through sign language lessons.”

Vice President of ASL Club, Jenna McLay states that it’s a campus organization that has been around for a while.

“The club teaches signs from American Sign Language. Each week, we have a different theme that we base the words on, and then we usually have a fun activity at the end of the meeting to review the words,” she said.

This club is free to join and people do not have to attend each meeting.

“It is a fun club and it gives you a break from studying and doing homework. You can meet new people here and it’s a relaxed way to learn a new language,” McLay said.

In spring 2014, the group signed the national anthem at an Erie Seawolves’ baseball game.

In fall 2015, they went to the Erie Zoo to learn animal signs based on the animals that were on exhibit there.

“In addition, we’ve also learned how to sign various songs,” McLay said.

The club meets every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in room 309 of the Frank G. Pogue Student Center.

Dakota Palmer is the Online Editor for The Spectator.

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