Associated Students (A.S.) approved an additional $500 fund for the Deaf Studies Association for an event called “Silent Weekend.”
Silent Weekend is a three-day emersion trip for hearing and deaf students, said Laura Schrenk, president of the Deaf Studies Association.
Previous funds from A.S. totaling $4,250 have already been given toward the event, said Conor Lansdale, vice president of A.S.
“The cost is for busses, food, lodging, the ropes course, guest speakers and a priceless experience,” Schrenk said. “We fundraise a lot to get the price down.”
“CSUN has a very diverse population and this is one of the pinnacle events of the deaf community,” Lansdale said.
Schrenk said she has been involved from the beginning and started planning the event in September by getting transportation and lodging, and finding the best date to go and getting the word out about the event.
“I call it my baby,” Schrenk said. “This is my favorite event to plan. It’s completely worth it.”
The weekend will be completely speech free, Schrenk said. Students will communicate only through sign language or other non-verbal ways, which allows students, especially those new to sign language to communicate in a safe environment without interpreters where everyone is feeling the same anxiety of beginning a new language, said Judi Daleke, deaf studies administrative support coordinator.
“The goal is to experience deaf culture and improve on American sign language (ASL) skills,” Schrenk said.
“Stop Audism” is the theme of the event this year, she said.
“Audism is the oppressive views based on the fact that people think being able to hear and speak is superior to being deaf,” Schrenk said.
Lansdale said he has friends who have had “wonderful experiences” when they were immersed in deaf community environment.
“It’s a neat experience,” added Schrenk.
Deaf students from ASL I to ASL III can attend as well as people who have been deaf most their lives, who are sometimes the presenters, Schrenk said. It’s a good place to be able to come and just hang out, she added.
“It’s just about connecting as individuals,” said Daleke.
Six presenters will address the students focusing on their background and experiences discussing the challenges and oppression that have faced them as a deaf person throughout the years, Schrenk said.
“The ropes course is the top event of the year,” Schrenk said. “The students really enjoy it. It’s good for team building and getting to know each other.”
The objective is to get at least 150 students to attend, Schrenk said. Last year, 130 students came and the year before that, it was held in Catalina with about 100 students attending.
“It’s just getting bigger and bigger,” Schrenk said.
Students interested in attending “Silent Weekend” must register by Friday, Feb. 19, Schrenk said. The event will be held March 19-21 at Cedar Lake Camp in Big Bear, said Schrenk.