American Sign Language is an important skill to learn in order to create an engaging, welcoming environment at LSU for all of its students.
LSU is a school filled with diverse students in every way. The deaf community is one that has a harder time communicating with fellow students.
One way students are working on this is by going through the process of creating a class that teaches ASL for a language credit in the LSU curriculum. LSU student Julius Pallotta began this process as he started looking into the LSU scheduling booklet.
“I did a little bit of digging and saw that we only had a manual English class and not an American Sign Language class,” Pallotta said. “So I did some digging on the process to start it and kind of just went from there.”
Pallotta is currently working with his team on getting the Letter of Intent through these steps leading to the Board of Regents for approval.
The interest in an ASL class is proven by a poll Pallotta sent out which showed that over 99% of the participants would be interested in taking an ASL course as part of their undergrad.
There are not many ways for students to become involved with the deaf culture. One way for students to learn some ASL and deaf culture is through the Hands That Hear organization.
Sara Toal is serving her second year as president of Hands That Hear.
“It’s bringing all these different groups of people together,” Toal said. “So I think it’s long overdue. And I commend these people that are, you know, going out and working to add these classes.”
Hands That Hear offers a community that bridges the communication gap between the hearing community and the deaf and hard of hearing community.
Rebekah Dupart is the treasurer of Hands That Hear and a member of the deaf community. She shared how she felt one time when a hearing person who knew ASL helped her in her everyday life.
“It was really cool that this person could sign some and interact with me,” Dupart said. “So it was really great.”
This process is making LSU’s campus more inclusive of all of its students. Student Government Director of Disability Services Chris Charles said that this process is a good step forward for LSU.
“I think that you know, it will spread awareness to people with disabilities,” Charles said.
LSU students can help this cause by continuing to raise awareness and advocate for this process to produce a more inclusive reality in the future.
If you would like to learn more about deaf culture join Hands That Hear through their page on Tigerlink.