Student to start American Sign Language Club

Photo by: Tasha Lund

Cydney Long

Jessica Stanfield has been interested in sign language ever since a deaf family member heard the ocean for the first time after a cochlear implant surgery.

“It was such a humbling experience,” Stanfield said. “So many of us take being able to talk and hear for granted, so I want to help others learn to appreciate these things.”

Stanfield, a junior journalism major, is looking to start an American Sign Language club at Georgia Southern University in fall 2013 to benefit not just deaf culture, but students as well.

“Signing is a very emotional experience. We escape from our troubles by listening to music or telling our friends about our problems, but people who are deaf cannot,” Stanfield said.

Since October, Stanfield has been working with a couple of friends to get the club started.

The club, if approved, will likely meet once a week for an hour starting with simple communication, then advancing within the language over time.

“If we don’t get approved, I will most likely start a personal sign language club,” Stanfield said.

GSU does not have motivation to offer ASL classes due to a lack of funding and demand, Dr. Eric Kartchner, department head of the foreign languages department, said.

“The reason we don’t offer sign language is because our undergraduate program is designed for preparing teacher candidates to teach students with mild disabilities,” Betty Nelson, instructor with the department of teaching and learning, said.