SFA’s Talking Hands and Student Government Association held their hybrid seminar, Building Inclusive Lives: A Deaf and Hard of Hearing Seminar, last Wednesday in the Twilight Ballroom and on Zoom.

“We wanted to provide an open and safe space for all things deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) related,” SGA said on Twitter. “The goal of the seminar was to provide tips and insight over the DHH, [Deaf and Hard of Hearing,] community such as Deaf culture, Dos and Don’ts, and interpreting [or] captioning services provided on campus.”

Cheyene Waggoner, Talking Hands secretary, provided ways to include deaf people more on the SFA campus. She encouraged students to ask questions and accept given answers, maintain eye contact and have an open mind when communicating with DHH students. She also recommends not to stare or ask about their hearing loss.

“Don’t make assumptions about their life,” Waggoner said.

Savvy Jackson, Talking Hands treasurer, explained the importance of interpreters in the DHH community. The job of the interpreter is to connect the hearing and the deaf. It is important to talk to the actual person rather than the interpreter.

Jayda Martinez, president of Talking Hands, promoted the organization throughout the night to help students become more involved in the DHH community. Talking Hands meets every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Zoom to learn sign language, talk about deaf culture, practice and play games.

“We are a tight knit community that loves to help each other improve in a safe environment,” Martinez said.

Although Talking Hands is the only ASL group on campus, there are other resources available off campus as well. To practice or learn ASL, Talking Hands recommends using resources such as Signing Savvy, the ASL That YouTube channel, taking the Nacogdoches ASL class and the ASL app by DiMarco on iPhone.

“We want to make SFA as informed and inclusive as possible,” SGA Twitter said. “To ensure SFA is a home for everyone.”

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