American Sign Language offers a unique education


Photo courtesy of Oya Petteruti

Laynie Clark, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

American Sign Language (ASL) at UTSA is a student organization that offers students a place to go and become educated on ASL and become more in tune with students who are a part of the hard of hearing community on campus. Through volunteering and ASL educational classes, the organization is hard at work.

Oya Petteruti serves as an event officer for ASL at UTSA and is one of the people that made the organization possible in the first place. She is a senior majoring in biology who has been excited to expand the organization in order to raise awareness for the hard of hearing community. 

The organization is fairly new, having been affiliated with UTSA since the Fall 2021 semester. “Kirsten, our Vice President, reached out to Ashton, who is our current president, through the UTSA app,” Petteruti explains. “Kirsten expressed that she wanted to advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing once she realized there wasn’t an established community on campus.”

With the ongoing pandemic, ASL at UTSA has had to adjust by using remote alternatives. “We held all of our general meetings and most of our American Sign Language courses online to help accommodate all of our members,” Petteruti said. “Overall, it’s been beneficial, but we have started moving the ASL meetings to in-person.” 

Though part of this semester was remote, the organization consistently held events to honor those that are a part of the hard of hearing community and educate those who are not. “Our organization provides two free Deaf Education courses on Deaf culture a month, along with four free American Sign Language classes. We have also held social events such as silent scavenger hunts, game nights and movie nights,” Petteruti said.

As ASL at UTSA continues to grow on campus, Petteruti shared that ASL is now a course that is being offered for the Spring 2022 semester. “The most exciting thing for the org was our plan to have UTSA re-implement the ASL courses and they are now offered for the Spring 2022 semester. This is a major step in the right direction for the hard of hearing and the deaf community,” Petteruti said.

Students who are interested in getting involved with ASL at UTSA can find them on Instagram: @ASLATUTSA.