The American Sign Language club is a growing club at Bellevue College, and spreads awareness about the Deaf community and its culture. ASL is becoming more of a recognized language in more areas for good reason. The ASL club gathers both students and regular people who know ASL or people who want to learn together to learn more about the language or the Deaf community and have fun with others who enjoy the same language. The club organizes events to immerse people into the culture. “The ASL club usually tries to get two to three game nights or different events in each quarter, this allows for students to get the necessary culture contact hours for their class. In June we’ll be having a deaf comedy night, and bringing in two very well known performers,” said the vice president of the ASL club Emily Estes. One event is the ASL game night.
At the game night, many people attended to eat pizza, play games without their words and mingle together using ASL. Main events that transpired were games that made attendees tape a picture to their back, and have them try to guess what the picture is while only using questions that can be answered with “YES” or “NO.” Participants keep going until they have fully guessed the picture. Another concentration game was where students had to remember a sign that they picked plus everybody else’s sign in a great game of pass off. The event was a great example of how people can be united by something as simple as a different language and the love of learning a whole new culture.
The ASL club endeavors to get involved with the deaf community and teaching others how to be a part of it as well. The ASL club’s Promotions Officer Caitlin Sklaroff has been with the club for three years and has been an active member since then. “I think the ASL club is incredibly important for ASL students. Game nights are specifically geared towards ASL 121 and 122 students and there are other opportunities such as Jeopardy nights and interpreted ASL performances. The ASL club tries to encourage students to have fun learning ASL, and I believe that’s really important. It’s hard to learn well if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing.”
The ASL club is growing and accepting new members all the time. The only requirement is that students want to learn about the deaf culture and will respect the Deaf culture at the events. If people are interested in joining the ASL club, they meet Monday afternoons from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.