New and improved ASL club debuts on campus

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With the new arrival of a deaf student, Sara Rodriguez, came the revamp of the American Sign Language (ASL) club. It’s been a few years since our campus has seen any club related to American Sign Language. Tarleton used to have an ASL but it dissipated after the executive board graduated. “On campus there are roughly 30 students with hearing disabilities and only 3 have interpreters,” Rodriguez said. That is why she finds it important to educate the student body on American Sign Language, so they can hopefully reach those who need it. The new and improved American Sign Language club will be led by President, Sara Rodriguez, Vice President, Baylie Ellis, and Secretary, Hannah Wilson. They are also working to interview more officers following their first
meeting this past Monday. Each week the American Sign Language club will have meetings from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Monday in Nursing 102. At the meetings they will teach sign language and upload videos to practice with. With the information learned, students involved in the club will be working toward signing and rapping songs in the Tarleton Showcase. The main goals of the American Sign Language club are to spread awareness about being deaf and using sign language, as well as serving the deaf community on campus and around Stephenville. The meetings will also feature guest speakers including Rodriquez’s mother, and best friend who is also deaf. To be in the club there will be a $20 entrance fee, which includes a shirt. This must be paid in cash or venmo by Nov. 18. The American Sign Language club plans to market themselves by using social media accounts, shirts, tabling in
the TSC, and posters around campus, so expect to see them around campus. Using money from their dues, they hope to hold awareness events on campus and within the community. Within the club Rodriguez hopes to teach us how to reach the deaf community and help them learn to sign along with us. Many people who are deaf aren’t born into deaf families, therefore they don’t have the resources they need to be effective communicators. Rodriguez wants people to know that American Sign Language is for everyone, although it is one of the most overlooked languages. Learning American Sign Language is just as important as learning another language, because it is a wide form of communication. Rodriguez has been deaf her entire life. While in the womb she lost all nutrients and stopped breathing,  leading to her being born three months early. She had jaundice and was in
the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for about a month. All newborns receive a hearing test, and Rodriguez failed both of hers, which led doctors to call for a cochlear implant. Her parents declined the immediate cochlear after extensive research. She instead got hearing aids once she reached elementary school. Once she reached high school her hearing began to decline, and she met her first deaf friends. Seeing as she grew up orally, she didn’t have any knowledge of American Sign Language. During her senior year she got the surgery for a cochlear implant in her left ear, and she continues to wear a hearing aid in her right ear. Using her experience as a deaf person she hopes to serve as a role model for kids like her who never had someone to look up to. She hopes to implore all Tarleton students to learn sign language and begin communicating with those who are deaf and have a limited community due to their disability.