By Sara Schneider
Talk to the Hand, Ohio Wesleyan’s American Sign Language club, gives students the ability to learn a skill not offered in a class.
During the meetings, students have the opportunity to learn about deaf culture and expand their signing abilities.
In addition to weekly meetings, the group attends interpretive plays where the actors use ASL as a part of their production. Other events include Sign and Talk Happy Hours and a Silent Weekend. The happy hour is an event where members go out to eat and use their sign language as much as possible. The Silent Weekend is a camping trip where the students cannot talk until the last day of the trip.
Silent lunches take place once a week in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center.
Senior Thomas Liwosz, the club’s president, said members “tell stories through signing, learn songs and learn about deaf culture” during meetings. They also go over the ASL alphabet and numbers.
Liwosz, who has been the president for the past two years, said his involvement with the club came out of a desire to build on the base knowledge of sign language he had when he came to OWU.
Sophomore Emma Weber said she wanted to learn ASL, but it wasn’t offered at her high school. She said she likes being able to sign because you can communicate with a wider range of people.
Liwosz said the club has helped him improve his signing abilities and expand his knowledge and appreciation for the deaf community. Ten to 15 students attend the meetings every week, though more students have expressed interest in the club.
Liwosz said he wants the university to “bring signing classes to campus and (make them) available for students to take for a language credit.”
According to the ASL website, “the role of deaf culture in society might come as a surprise to the hearing world”—the language is the third-most used in the country.
The club meets once a week from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday in the Willa B. Player Black Resource Center in Stuyvesant Hall.