Pacific University’s American Sign Language Club began three years ago. The class was introduced to the curriculum a year after the club came into existence.
The sign language club is open to anybody who is interested. Students from both the 101 and 102 level classes frequent the club, which takes place in the University Center every Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. Club president Devon Medina encourages all students to join.
“You can join if you know sign language, if you don’t, if you’re in the class or not. It’s a really chill environment to just come and practice signing with your friends,” Medina said.
In relation to other spoken languages such as Spanish or French, many people find ASL easier to learn.
“I thought it was way easier just to be able to learn and understand signs and process how your hands work instead of your mouth,” Medina said.
American Sign Language is not currently a minor like several languages are, but students hope to see that change sometime in the near future. It is currently being incorporated more into the curriculum as well. As of this spring semester, the university is adding an ASL 201 class in addition to the 101 and 102 classes already offered.
In the past, the American Sign Language Club has taken a field trip to the zoo and used it as an educational experience. Two years ago, everyone in the club got together and went to the Portland Zoo. They each picked an animal and signed a couple facts about it as they walked past it.
“We’re trying to get it going again in April,” Medina said. “You don’t have to be in the club to come because we really aren’t exclusive, so if you want to be in it you can be.”
That is not the only event that the club has planned for this year. They are hoping to get some sort of holiday song event happening, such as Christmas carols or Hanukkah songs, or some type of non-denominational religious celebrations, and find a way to incorporate sign language into the events.
The club is also planning on signing the national anthem at a Pacific sporting event soon.