There are 54 students who are deaf or hard of hearing on campus and many of them don’t know each other. Senior Duggan Baker realized the importance of having a community to rely on when he was a sophomore.
“As a hard of hearing student who came to UT from a public school, I have always been surrounded by hearing students. During my first year at UT, I struggled to make new friends and felt as if I did not fit in on campus. However, that feeling started to disappear once I met several other deaf and hard of hearing students like me during my sophomore year. It felt really good to meet other students who had shared similar experiences with me, and I realized that I wasn’t the only deaf and hard of hearing student on this campus,” said Baker.
This year, he organized the meet-and-greet event which was attended by about 35 students, faculty and staff. The event was sponsored by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and the Department of Linguistics. It provided the opportunity for students to meet each other and learn more about the resources offered on campus.
Lauren Kinast, assistant director of the Services for Students with Disabilities, said, “This event was one of several we hope to bring together deaf and hard of hearing students in the UT community as we provide them a more inclusive college experience having ties with other deaf and hard of hearing peers they can share their experiences with, make new friends, learn about the resources/community events available to them, consider learning ASL, and be a part of student organizations such as the UT Deaf and Hard of Hearing Longhorn College Bowl team.”