The BYU-Idaho American Sign Language Association meets every second and fourth Saturday of the month in the John W. Hart Building room 154 from 6-7 p.m.
Sam McLeod, a senior studying psychology, said BYU-I had an ASL class a few years ago.
McLeod said BYU-I discontinued the class because of attendance and lack of qualified teachers.
The president of the association, Richard Boyer, a freshman majoring in general studies, said when there is a lack of attendance, the school generally takes that class away.
Boyer said there will be an activity every week separate from the meeting.
He said the purpose of the association is to learn ASL and use it to teach the gospel.
ASL is the main language used in North America by those who are deaf or hard of hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
“My goal is to get to 50-75 students to attend the association,” Boyer said.
Boyer said trying to make numbers increase through the association will help get the class once again.
“It is an association because it has a whole culture surrounding it,” McLeod said.
McLeod said unless students know sign language, it is difficult for hearing impaired students to have conversations with others because they sometimes fear the interpreter will misinterpret and the impaired student will be misunderstood.
“Every time they say something, everyone will be looking at them,” McLeod said.
McLeod said students knowing about the culture makes hearing impaired students feel more like they are part of the BYU-I community.
“Those who are curious about the association are those who attend,” McLeod said.
McLeod said signing is complicated because signing and interpreting are two different things.
He said it is important to translate a concept so that an impaired student will understand it rather than just speaking or signing conversationally.
Boyer said the association teaches how to sign conversationally, interpret signs and to pray using ASL.
McLeod said the association strives to inform the public about the hearing impaired community so every student can feel like they belong at BYU-I.
Boyer said it is an opportunity to express what we as a society love.
“It teaches people about who we are and what we do,” Boyer said.