Club profile: American Sign Language Club

Photo: The American Sign Language Club hosts a field trip to meet members of a deaf bowling league.

The American Sign Language Club is an organization for members of the Salve Regina community who have a strong interest in learning about the deaf/hard-of-hearing culture as well as their method of communication, American Sign Language (ASL).

This is the club’s 10th year as a recognized student organization. The group includes:

  • Erica Staley (president)
  • Briana Tosado (vice president)
  • Shannon Soule (treasurer)
  • Sara Dunn (public relations)
  • Makenzie Curr (co-secretary)
  • Ashley Szczoczarz (co-secretary)
  • Dr. Michael Thombs (adviser)

Over the years, the club’s events and members have grown and changed, but its main goal has stayed true. The club has worked to get ASL recognized as a modern language by both the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and the University as a whole.

Club members work to gain a deeper understanding of the language and the culture so they can share the information with fellow students. Both the language and culture surrounding ASL are important to those who use it. Although not many know, ASL has a strong cultural component behind it. The club works to encourage members of the Salve Regina community to understand this and to understand the usefulness of the language in all professions, from business to education to health care.

Over the last 10 years, the club has supported the initiative to have ASL approved to fulfill the foreign language requirement for early childhood education majors, and it hopes more majors will soon follow.

Aside from its mission to grow awareness of the culture and language of ASL, one of the club’s goals this year was to make a meaningful impact on the Salve Regina community. The club began the year by performing a song in ASL at the Relay for Life. They also hosted a pizza party where participants learned simple ASL so they could “order” their pizza in sign language. The club also reaches beyond Salve Regina, working to visit a local preschool to teach baby sign to young children.

Salve Regina’s mission encourages students “to work for a world that is harmonious, just and merciful,” and the club believes that by showing and growing the respect for this language, they are making steps to do just that.

For more information on the American Sign Language Club, email the club secretaries at or or follow the club on Facebook and Instagram.

Compiled by Matthew Levine ’17

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