Indiana University Kokomo’s annual silent lunch, part of deaf awareness week, gives students a brief glimpse into someone else’s life, with the goal of making people more mindful of others and their differences. This can help improve the lives of anyone who may be deaf or hard of hearing. People may have a preconceived idea of what it is like to have these impairments but experiencing it first hand can steer people to more accurate perceptions.
According to the World Federation of the Deaf, 70 million deaf people use sign language as their first language. This means that for many people, silence is something they experience everyday.
“This event offers everyone a small insight into the life of another,” said Scott Chain, graduate assistant for the Office of Student Activities.
Jacqueline Johnson, vice president of the Cougar Advocates for Diversity, said having the activity in the cafeteria allowed them to reach more people.
During the silent lunch hour, the Cougar Country Café, a place usually filled with laughter, conversation, and noise, was silent, with no words spoken or heard. The only form of communication was body language and facial expressions.
“The hour of silence sent a strong message that pushed many people out of their comfort zones to create awareness for this overlooked issue,” said John Capps, 21.
Sarah Gill, vice president for the student athletics and wellness board, was one of the volunteers holding up signs asking for silence, and offering earplugs at the cafeteria entrances.
“It is important for us to step back and put into perspective what it may be like to live with this impairment,” Gill said.
Story written by Kambren Stanley. Kambren is a student writer in the Office of Media & Marketing.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.