By Sierra Morrison
CCC Journalism Program
Camden County College offers a large selection of clubs to join including the American Sign Language Club.
Dating to 1993 and having a membership numbering about 60 students, the ASL Club provides a social/learning network for sign language interpreting students, deaf studies students, and deaf and hard of hearing (DHOH) students where they can improve and enhance their second language in a total immersion environment and to promote awareness of deaf culture and issues related to hearing loss.
The difference between deaf and hard of hearing is, those that have very little or no functional hearing refer to themselves as “deaf.” Those with milder hearing loss may label themselves as “hard of hearing.”
The ASL Club mission statement follows the ASL Program, “To advocate for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students and individuals by promoting equality and self-determination through empowerment; and to provide the necessary support services while enhancing awareness and understanding of Deaf Culture and the unique communication needs of DHOH individuals.”
CCC students and co-presidents Kasey McMaster and David Randolph provided insight to the social and learning aspects of the ASL Club. “Every month, the ASL Club offers opportunities to interact with deaf and hard of hearing students,” said McMaster.
The ASL Club is celebrating Deaf History Month, which started March 13 and ends April 15.
From April 6 to April 10 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. the ASL Club will staff a table on the second floor of the connector terrace on the Blackwood campus, providing information about Deaf History Month.
Other activities includes, playing a game called “Sign and Switch” which involves two students signing for two minutes and then switching, going roller skating, bowling and fundraising. Previous fundraising events involved ASL Club members staffing a table and selling cupcakes and lollipops in the shape of ASL signs
Kathy Earp, program coordinator for the DHOD at CCC, said support services for the DHOH include advisement/transition counseling accessible in ASL, interpreting, note takers, C-Print captioning, ASL tutoring, and assistive listening devices. C-Print captioning is printed text interpreting.
Other accommodations include extended time to complete tests, quizzes, exams. For DHOH students with cultural and linguistic differences, they would have to learn ASL first since, “signing is not universal” said Earp.