With the addition of a Sign Language Club at Quinnipiac, interested students can now learn American Sign Language and be informed about the deaf community and deaf studies.
The Sign Language Club was started by co-founders and co-presidents Sydney Frank and Gabrielle Frankel.
The club will meet on a weekly basis, according to Frank. She said she hopes the meetings will include an instructor each week to teach the club members in American Sign Language. She said she hopes the teachers will also help spread awareness about this form of communication and general information about the deaf community and deaf studies.
Frank said she hopes the club will make people realize the importance of knowing sign language.
“We hope that our club will open up people’s eyes about this language and how important it is to know it,” Frank said.
Though there were only seven attendees at their first meeting, Frank said she hopes to see those numbers improve. The group plans to start properly advertising now that it has been approved by the university and recognized as an official club.
“Since advertising about the club, about five people I did not know inboxed me on Facebook with interest,” Frank said. “We plan on expanding and advertising a lot more.”
Frank said she was interested in starting the club because she had worked with deaf children and was disappointed that her high school didn’t offer sign language as a class or club.
“I always wanted to start a sign language club in high school,” Frank said. “I have been working and volunteering with special needs kids since seventh grade and a lot of them [were] deaf or knew sign language as another form of communicating.”
Frankel said she got involved with starting the Sign Language Club because she took sign language classes in high school.
“I took sign language for three years in high school and I loved it,” Frankel said. “I wanted to be able to bring it to QU. I think this club can help make QU a closer community by bringing together people with a common interest.”
Freshman public relations major Jessica Kravet is one of the club’s current members. She said she joined because of a previous interest in sign language during her high school career.
“I decided to join because I took sign language in high school,” she said. “This club is a way for me to learn more signs and learn more about the deaf community. I am excited to further my [sign language] education.”
Kravet said she wished Quinnipiac would offer courses in sign language because it’s something she would have been interested in pursuing.
“[I] was completely bummed that QU does not offer [sign language],” Kravet said. “I would have loved to take it as my language or be a deaf studies minor.”