The Making of an ASL Song

By Maria Gillin, President, SUNY New Paltz American Sign Language Club

Every semester begins the same, we introduce ourselves and say what we do. Then we see what the members of our club are interested in. We learn the most about each other when we pick what song we want to translate and learn how to sign. Our members always get to choose – we ask them for song ideas, narrow them down based on level of difficulty, and put it to a vote. Then the fun begins. It usually takes 3 or 4 days to translate a song and then from there it takes about 4 meetings to teach everyone and be comfortable enough that we can perform the song, or record ourselves.

This past year we had the awesome experience of performing twice, once at Relay for Life and again at the Sexy Pitches final spring performance. Our debut at Relay for Life was bigger and better than we ever imagined. Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch when we took the stage. Afterwards we spent over a half hour with people asking about how they could join and be a part of something so awesome.

Here is the ASL Club performing “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen:

The ASL Club meets on Mondays at 8pm in the Commuter Lounge, SUB100S. Please join us, or get in touch-


Twitter: @NewPaltzASLClub

Instagram: @newpaltzaslclub

President Maria Gillin –

Vice President Sarah Broughton –


2014 “Honor Ride” Raises Over $10K

2014 Honor Ride group photo

Group Photo at Stewart Air Force Base

On August 24th, I joined over 120 cyclists from eight different states in a 50-mile fundraising “Honor Ride” for Ride 2 Recovery, an organization that gets veterans into cycling and provides training and specially adapted equipment to aid in their recovery.

We set out from Veteran’s Park in Maybrook with dozens of red, white, and blue jerseys among the usual road-safe yellows and greens. At every major intersection, scary-looking guys from the Orange County chapter of the Defiant Crew roared up on Harley Davidsons and turned them sideways to block traffic, then cheered us on as we streamed past. After a rest stop in Gardiner at mile 25, our escorts bunched the group so we could ride into our next stop, Stewart Air Force Base, as a unit, weaving through barricades, road spikes, and gateposts. As we assembled for a group photo under the flags, a veteran asked me to turn off the flashing safety light on my bike because it could trigger a seizure in someone who has had a traumatic brain injury; a poignant reminder that not every veteran has visible wounds.

The Honor Ride is not supposed to be a race, but road cyclists are a competitive bunch. On the last leg, this spirit was unleashed, and the leaders were soon well ahead of the escorts. I pushed to stay on their heels as a personal tribute. As I attacked the long hill back into Maybrook, the burning in my lungs and muscles was a visceral reminder of how hard injured veterans have to push every day in rehabilitation to restore something even close to a normal life.

Prof. Anne Balant

Prof. B on a bike? No way!

We crossed the finish line accompanied by the ringing of cowbells and the grins of young volunteers. As we demolished a buffet lunch, we heard inspiring remarks from a number of individuals. Veteran Matt Dewitt, an accomplished cyclist and racer, showed us how it is possible to steer, shift and brake an adapted bicycle using his prostheses. The Defiant Crew posed for photos with some of the cyclists and announced that they were donating what they would have been paid for their time. Overall, we raised more than $10,000 that day.

The Honor Ride will be back in Maybrook again sometime next year. Hope to see you there!

– Written by Anne Balant, SUNY New Paltz Communication Disorders Department

Matt DeWitt - Vet Rider

Veteran Matt DeWitt demonstrates his adapted bicycle

  invisible words to push this down so it isn’t broken up by the photos – don’t know hows!

Ride 2 Recovery is a non-profit organization that assists injured military members, veterans, and first responders in their physical and mental rehabilitation through cycling. To donate or become involved, visit their web site:

Sociology Professor Appointed to Ulster County Human Rights Commission

Anne Roschelle

Professor Anne R. Roschelle

Professor Anne R. Roschelle, Department of Sociology, was appointed to a two-year term on the Ulster County Human Rights Commission. The commission meets once a month and their activities include: monitoring human rights violations in Ulster County, engaging in public education about human rights, keeping abreast of national and international human rights issues, organizing public events and forums on human rights, engaging in public outreach to agencies, and lobbying state and local legislative bodies when appropriate.  In November, the Ulster County Human Rights Commission is having a conference on Disproportionate Sentencing of Juveniles in Ulster County.

Deaf Awareness Week Film Presented in Sign Language and Closed Captioned for the Hearing

In celebration of Deaf Awareness Week, students are invited to attend a screening of the film Versa Effect on Monday, Sept. 22 from 6:30-8:30 in LC 100. The PG movie is presented in Sign Language and is closed captioned for the hearing!

From their childhood years to working at a Deaf school in Texas, Jackie and Seth have Versa Effectalways loved to…HATE each other. To make matters worse, their bodies have been switched. What follows is a series of laugh-a-minute hijinks as Jackie and Seth struggle to get back to their own bodies before they are stuck forever. Versa Effect is filmed in the vein of Freaky Friday and is sure to be enjoyed by all.

The film screening is sponsored by the Mid-Hudson Deaf Awareness Group, Department of Communication Disorders, Sociology Concentration in Human Services, Taconic Resources for Independence, Inc. and Campus Auxiliary Services.

The screening is free.  For more information, email

High-Tech Listening: iPhone App for Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are better than ever; they’re slim, customized, discrete and technologically advanced. They are no longer the devices of the past that your grandparents kept in a drawer only to wear for an occasional outing. They are digital and brimming with connectivity. Hearing aids can connect to any device that is Bluetooth compatible, such as a computer, television, cell phone, land line phone, music device, car system and more. If the target device is not Bluetooth, then an adaptor can be utilized.

Collage of hearing aids throughout history

Hearing aids throughout history

Recently a variety of hearing aid companies have introduced another advancement: iPhone compatibility. Apple’s “Made for iPhone Hearing Aid” program allows the iPhone to act as a remote control for hearing aids. When moving from one sound environment to another, such as entering a noisy restaurant, adjusting the volume or switching the hearing aid’s pre-programmed environment settings is easily done with the iPhone app. In addition, the app can be used to select an input source, such as cell phone, TV or music, so that sound is delivered from the source directly to the hearing aid.

If you would like to find out more about hearing aids, please contact the SUNY New Paltz Speech Language and Hearing Center at (845) 257-3600.



Students Host Workshops at Columbia Girls Facility

This spring semester, a group of approximately 15 undergraduate women from SUNY New Paltz came together to collaborate on a workshop for the young women at Columbia Girls Secure Facility in Claverack, New York.  Columbia Girls is a juvenile facility where young women between the ages of 13 and 15 who are accused of serious felonies and sentenced as adults are sent.  If they still have time left on their sentence by the time they they turn 21–and many of them do–they are transferred to the New York State Department of Corrections.  There are approximately eight young women in the facility now, although it has a capacity of 25 beds.

The women of New Paltz who devised the workshops brought a variety of different perspectives to the table.  The women represent a range of majors, from Black Studies, to Sociology, Political Science, Art, and Communication and Media.  They are members of a wide number of student organizations–from Urban Lyrics, to the African Women’s Alliance, Fahari Libertad, the Black Studies Student Association, to Chi Upsilon Sigma, and the Student Association.  The first workshop centered around the idea of the higher self, which included presentations by New Paltz students on women who had been incarcerated as well as a poetry workshop.  The second workshop, building on the first, centered around the theme of Sankofa, or the need to reach back to the past to comprehend one’s present.

“The Columbia Girls workshops were not only an opportunity for students to share what they have learned in the classroom with the young women at the facility, but it was also an opportunity for the students and for me as a faculty member to see the possibilities of dialogue between those on the ‘inside’ and those on the ‘outside’ as a means of facilitating an understanding of the dignity and humanity of those behind bars,” said Assistant Professor of Sociology Alexandra Cox.  “This galvanized me and the students: one student took the initiative to plan an on-campus event on the effects of incarceration on women, which took place on Friday May 2nd, and convinced her sorority to take on the issue of women’s incarceration as the cause that their sorority would work on in the coming year.” The students and Cox plan to continue these visits on a regular basis starting in the fall.

Since she began teaching at New Paltz, Cox has taken her students each semester to a secure boy’s facility called Brookwood to engage in joint college classes. “These trips have helped to inform my students’ understandings of incarceration and have opened their eyes about the experiences of young people behind bars,” noted Cox. “The trips to Columbia, however, were an opportunity for me to sit back and learn from our students about the ways they were able to infuse their curriculum with both their intellectual and personal understandings about the role of identity in shaping our social sympathies.”

Sociology Lecture Explores Politics of Social Media Activism

The Department of Sociology presents a timely lecture on race and social media activism on Wednesday, April 23 from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium.

Crystal Fleming

Crystal Fleming

Stonybrook University Associate Professor Crystal Fleming will deliver a lecture entitled, “In Virtual Defense of Harriet Tubman:  Black Twitter and the Intersectional Politics of Social Media Activism,” which examines All Def Digital’s production and release of a “Harriet Tubman Sextape,” as well as the professor’s experience writing an online petition to remove the video. Writing in the genre of analytic autoethnography, Fleming brings reflections of her experience as an African-American woman learning about, viewing and reacting to the video in dialogue with content analysis of over 200 comments written by signers of the petition.

In her work, Fleming develops the concept of “spiritual reflexivity” by exploring how her engagement with Christian mysticism, Hinduism and Buddhism shaped her emotional experience of feeling gendered and racialized offense and rage at the portrayal of Tubman. Fleming’s lecture will introduce a theorization of stigmatization as a “symbolic attack,” demonstrate how spirituality can shape how an individual interprets and responds to symbolic attacks and emphasize the role of the Internet in providing opportunities for transforming emotional catharsis into commiseration and collective action.

The talk is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in CSB 110 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Campus Auxiliary Services.

LA&S Summer Internship Scholarships

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce scholarships to support low-paying or unpaid summer internships for students.  For summer 2014 we will offer two or three $1,000 awards.  This program is supported by generous contributions from SUNY New Paltz parents, alumni, and friends to the LA&S Dean’s Fund.

These are merit-based awards that take into account the student’s GPA, the quality of the internship, the relevance of the internship to the student’s academic major and educational goals, and the relevance of the internship to the student’s future career.


  • Applicants should be majors in a department or program within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Applicants should have a 3.3 or higher cumulative G.P.A.
  • Preference will be given to students in their junior year; seniors who will graduate in May or August 2014 are not eligible for this award.
  • The internship cannot be with a business or organization run by a family member, relative, or close family friend.

To apply, students should submit the following:

  • A 300-500 word description of the internship and its relation to the student’s academic major, educational goals, and career plans
  • A resume
  • An academic transcript with cumulative G.P.A.
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty

Applications should be sent to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, JFT 614.  Deadline for applications is May 7, 2014.  Awards will be announced on May 15, 2014.

Free Hearing Test for Students, Faculty & Staff

DSC03877Hearing loss is a very common problem that can significantly affect an individual’s ability to communicate. The Speech Language and Hearing Center (SLHC) here on campus provides full audiological evaluations at no cost for students, faculty and staff.  The evaluation takes approximately one hour and will be performed by a nationally and state certified audiologist. If you are interested, please call 257-3600 to make an appointment.

Statistics on Hearing Loss:

  • About 20 percent of adults in the United States, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss.
  • 60 percent of the people with hearing loss are either in the work force or in educational settings.
  • At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss.
  • About 2-3 of every 1,000 children are hard of hearing or deaf
  • Estimated that 30 school children per 1,000 have a hearing loss.

Source: John Hopkins Medicine

Deaf Awareness Week – ASL Movie Night April 9, 2014

GeraldsmDeaf Awareness Week  – ASL Movie Night Wednesday, April 9

This film is rated PG-13 and is being shown for free. It is presented in sign language and closed-captioned for the hearing.

When: 6:30-8:30pm

Where: SUNY New Paltz Lecture Center Room 100 (LC100)

Please join us for this important and moving film. The story traces the journey of a young man, Corey, who discovers he has a deaf autistic grandfather he has never met. Determined to make a connection with his grandfather, Corey uncovers family ties and secrets in a dramatic chain of events, leading to a shocking truth.

Sponsored by: Mid-Hudson Deaf Awareness Group, Communication Disorders Department, Sociology Dept. – Human Services Concentration, and Taconic Resources for Independence, Inc. CAS