American Sign Language club hosts annual sign and dine

April 26, 2023

American Sign Language Club hosts annual Sign and Dine

Students came together and helped themselves to food while learning the basics of American Sign Language on April 14.

The event encouraged students to enjoy catered food while taking them beyond the menu, teaching them all the translations in sign.

Gabrielle Mushinski, '23 MAT '24, president of the American Sign Language (ASL) club, planned this event from the beginning, she explained. Mushinski followed the blueprint of the sign and dine event she helped plan last year as vice president.

Mushinski reached out to the Student Government Association’s vice president for inclusion, Jamison Setzler ’25, in hopes of hosting a co-sponsored event.

“The most beautiful thing about student organizations is that there’s something for everyone, and if there isn’t something for you, you can create it,” Setzler explained. “Co-sponsorships allow for multiple different organizations to combine their skills and interests to create something special. Sign and Dine especially is an event I’m fond of because it’s the perfect opportunity for people to be taught about deaf culture from a deaf presenter.”

Mushinski and Setzler came together with a common interest in mind: bringing the community together.

“Presenting the conversational signs to our audience was great," Mushinski said. "The audience was enjoying their food and learning not only from us but from our presenter too."

The presenter, Quinnipiac professor Pedro Pasqual Villanueva, attended via Zoom. He was excited to give the attendees not only a glimpse into his experience being deaf but also into the use of sign language as a form of communication, he explained. Villanueva will also be teaching American Sign Language courses in the fall semester for those interested in learning more from him.

Hannah Jack ‘24, American Sign Language club vice president, really enjoyed hearing about Villanueva's childhood and overall experiences, she said.

“Professor Pasqual did an outstanding job talking about his background and giving insight as to what it was like growing up deaf," Jack said. "His education was impacted by a lack of inclusivity and I could never imagine some of the things he went through. It was amazing that he was able to share what it was like."

Since their meetings focus on conversational sign language, the opportunity to see it used as a main form of communication between Villanueva and his interpreter was educational and offered a new understanding for members, explained American Sign Language member Anna Kaplan '25, MOT '27.

“Sign language is beautiful and there are so many chances to learn and create that beauty yourself," said Kaplan. "Sign and dine gives people the opportunity to see how our organization educates students and maybe take away a little bit of conversational sign language in case they need it one day."

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