The National Center on Deafness at CSUN is preparing to host a new annual event, Sign n’ Run, on April 14 to promote deaf culture.
“We wanted to create a forum to showcase our exciting language, culture and community,” said NCOD Director Roz Rosen, who proposed the idea for the event. “By doing Sign n’ Run at CSUN, we can help draw attention.”
Gary Sanderson, the event coordinator and the administrative staff interpreter for NCOD, said Sign n’ Run is the second largest fundraising event hosted by NCOD. He hopes to make this an annual event.
Laura McManus, a recreation management graduate in charge of recruiting runners and walkers, said, “I can’t imagine another way to have fun with the community and help NCOD at the same time. I want to contribute as much as I can for NCOD and the community.”
Sanderson said the money earned through the event would be used to create an endowment program to provide students with funding for expenses the state does not pay.
The funding would also allow for the creation of a scholarship program and allow students to attend deaf conferences around the country.
“By encouraging participants and sponsors, we will be raising funds for much-needed programs and scholarships for deaf and hard of hearing students,” said Rosen.
The event has presented a challenge for the NCOD staff and students because they have never hosted such an event.
“None of us know what we’re doing,” says Sanderson. “There are only three staff members on the committee. We take care of the budgeting. We’re behind the scenes.”
“The students have really taken the ball and run with it. It’s a great leadership experience and an opportunity to expand their horizons,” says Sanderson.
Sanderson and the students have used Aids Walk LA and Walk For Water as references to create registration forms, choosing the route and the place at which volunteers will hand out water.
Janette Duran, a senior child development major in charge of providing entertainment for the children, said, “It’s a learning experience. We have a purpose for the event and we hope to accomplish that purpose. If not, then it’s OK.”
She said the event is not only about generating funds, but about promoting deaf culture as well.
“We do have a culture and hopefully people can see that,” says Duran. “We are a tight-knit community and always help one another to strive for something. But at the same time, we would like for people to be part of this culture, to not be afraid of approaching us deaf people.”
Rosen said this is a learning event at which different people can learn from one another.
“This event is a two-way mutually beneficial happening,” says Rosen. “Deaf people will learn more about CSUN and the general public will learn more about deaf people, American Sign Language, culture and community.”