CSUN National Center on Deafness celebrate American Sign Language with festivities.
CSUN students gathered in front of the Klotz Health Center to socialize back and forth in ASL with family, friends and children to celebrate deaf culture.
The National Center on Deafness (NCOD) hosted their 5th annual Sign n’ Run, five-kilometer marathon and festival on Sunday with sign language interpreters, inflatable obstacle courses, dance competitions, hula hoops, games, face painting and ASL activities.
“We’re here to celebrate deaf culture and to bring the community together in awareness to the NCOD 50th anniversary event,” said Roz Rosen, director of NCOD.
Last year’s Sign n’ Run event raised $3,000. The money was raised for NCOD scholarships and awards to support deaf and hard of hearing students at CSUN.
The NOCD plans to raise money for a fundraiser to support the deaf and hard-of-hearing students and to raise money for a fundraiser and a sponsorship for next year. The scholarship is for students who have enrolled in CSUN through the NCOD.
Julia Neagoe, 22, junior deaf studies major and event organizer said, “This year we decided not to ask for donations, we decided to focus our attention on a raffle, and thought it would be more fun to gather funds through a raffle.” Neagoe said they have sponsors who donate money to run the actual event too.
Neagoe said, “This event is really open to anyone whether you’re deaf, whether you use sign language or don’t. Also it’s a celebration of the deaf community and ASL.”
More than 500 people participated in the event.
Ronald McDonald was also in attendance and gave high fives to contestants at the finish line and entertained children and other community members with balloon animals made by volunteers.
Lauren Patton, 19, sophomore deaf studies major performed “Letting Go” from the Frozen soundtrack in ASL.
“This is my first time participating in the run,” Sophie Ramirez, 21, psychology major said. “Just being a part of something…it feels nice to be able to represent the deaf community.”
Evelina Gaina, speaker and chairperson of NCOD grabbed people from the crowd to participate in an ASL activity on stage.
The performance was not interpreted in ASL. Communication in the presentation emphasized self-expression, body language and facial expressions. Volunteers from the audience acted as objects in a skit to the daily routines and tasks of a typical day. The audience chose to select daily activities, in particular to getting ready for the day.
This activity was conducted to prepare students in becoming independent and responsible while transitioning to college life and was in representation to the various companies sponsored, according to Neagoe.
The Sign n’ Run event sponsored companies that provide the services, tools and communications to support deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.
Renee Brum, CSUN alumnus came to support the deaf community with family and friends and ran together in the 5K marathon.
Brum also attended last year’s National Center on Deafness 2013 Sign N’ Run event. Her 17-year-old daughter, who attends Miller High School, also ran and plans to go to CSUN in the next couple of years.
“I think the fact that there are so many people here that she can sign, talk to and socialize with is great,” Brum said. “We meet up with other friends who come in and don’t know what to see on a daily basis or on a monthly basis so we get to catch up on them as well.”
The walk was followed by the ASL Deaf and Culture Festival, which included arts and crafts, face painting raffle prizes, catch football, ring toss, bottle fishing and more.
Claudia Matias, 19, freshman deaf studies major ran the 5K and won a stuffed animal in ring toss.
“It felt nice to participate in the run. I liked how I was able to interact with other peers and students,” Matias said. “I enjoyed interacting with students who know how to speak ASL well, because it helped me practice using ASL.”
Many CSUN students, including America Avelino, 20, sophomore deaf studies major ran the 5K race with classmates also majoring in deaf studies.
“I like to run, I am very physical about that. I just like seeing so many people,” Avelino said. “There’s not a lot of events that happen at CSUN for the deaf community. I think this event is a big one because of the run and seeing the deaf community interact.”
The NCOD provides interpreting services for deaf and hard of hearing students, note-takers, captionists, and video phones for public use, tutoring and advisement.