Written by Allison Ericson
VSU’s American Sign Language Club will host “It’s a Deaf, Deaf World” at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Student Union Ballroom.
The event will give VSU students, faculty and staff a glimpse into a whole new world where hearing is no longer an option.
The participants will enter a silent room where they must attempt to communicate with ASL members and others around them through sign language only.
“The Deaf World is not meant to confuse people, but rather shed light on the life of a deaf person and expose you to the language and culture,” Jake McHargue, a senior American sign language major, said.
The event is meant to teach the general public that deaf students are faced with everyday challenges in communicating with those who can hear.
Simple tasks like shopping and going out to eat are harder for deaf people, because most people don’t know how to communicate with sign language.
Once inside the “Deaf World,” the roles are reversed and those who can hear must attempt to communicate without using their voice– all while trying to do every day tasks.
“It will give the hearing person a little insight on being deaf and what it is like for them on campus, or even outside of school like at Walmart or Publix,” McHargue said.
“Deaf World” is the ultimate communication obstacle course– testing the skills of a hearing person. Deaf students get the chance to see how a hearing person reacts in a setting they are accustomed to. For once, the deaf students will understand everything being said while the hearing must make sense of it all.
Anna Meisman, also a senior American sign language major, hopes that participants will have more insight and understanding after the experience.
“I hope that those who can hear will experience first hand the day-to-day struggles deaf people encounter and ways to overcome them,” she said.
“Deaf culture is so unique and different from anything I have ever been apart of. I hope a lot of people show up and become exposed to deaf culture and sign language.”
Much like taking a foreign language, ASL takes years of practice to learn. ASL majors spend four or more years of studying and interning to be able to have a fluent conversation using sign language.
“ASL is almost as foreign as Spanish or French to the American language,” McHargue said. “I think that everyone should learn some ASL even if it’s just the basics.”