ASL Club visits Gallaudet University

ASL Club of CSN’s Maiden Voyage to the center of the Deaf World: Gallaudet University & Washington DC.

Embarking on a meaningful journey, the ASL Club of the College of Southern Nevada, along with a mix of its board members and dedicated Deaf Studies program students, made their way to Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. from March 6-10, 2024. Guided by Professor Helou, our ASL Club co-advisor, this enriching field trip—supported by fundraising, student life contest winnings, individual contributions, and an ASCSN grant—aimed to immerse participants in the vibrant world of Deaf culture and education, a key aspect of our program’s philosophy.

Gallaudet University, recognized as the only institution of higher learning specifically for deaf and hard of hearing students, holds a special place within our Deaf Studies program. Since its establishment in 1864, Gallaudet has led the way in Deaf education, research, and advocacy, serving as both an invaluable resource and a source of inspiration for our students. This trip celebrated our program’s connection to Gallaudet and underscored our commitment to Deaf culture and ASL.

The group, consisting of students from the BAS Interpreter Preparation Program, and an AAS Deaf Studies student, all under Professor Helou’s leadership, fully embraced the Gallaudet ethos of “hands up, voices off,” using ASL to meaningfully engage with the Deaf community.

Their journey included visits to key landmarks and institutions, such as the White House and the U.S. Capitol—where students had the chance to interpret their tours—the Library of Congress, and the National Mall, with insightful visits to the Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetery. Stops at a Deaf-operated Starbucks and the Deaf-owned “Mozzeria” pizzeria showcased successful Deaf entrepreneurship, further inspiring our students.

Students had the opportunity to compete in a Treasure Hunt around Washington D.C.’s landmarks presented a fun and educational challenge, emphasizing the importance of education, networking, and advocacy within the Deaf community. Through this activity, students explored the city’s rich history and culture, simultaneously uncovering the wide range of offerings and possibilities in Deaf studies and interpretation. Additionally, it offered insights into the benefits of pursuing advanced education, such as a Master’s Degree at Gallaudet University, and the value of socializing and networking with Deaf college students. This experience enriched their understanding of our nation’s capital and history, equipping them with perspectives that will enhance their future work as interpreters in various educational settings, from K-12 to post-secondary levels.

This trip was more than just a valuable experience for the CSN Deaf Studies program; it was a journey of discovery and connection, fostering a deeper understanding and respect for Deaf culture and ASL. Through this visit to Gallaudet University, Advisor Helou and the students explored the rich tapestry of Deaf history, gaining insights that would guide their own paths into the Deaf community. It was a poignant reminder of the continuous journey toward understanding, inclusion, and advocacy, embodying the spirit of unity and progress that defines our commitment to the Deaf community and Deaf studies.

© 2024 College of Southern Nevada