Skip to main content

Kean University

Kean American Sign Language Club Scores with Event at NJ Devils Game

Attendees at the ASL Night celebration got to walk on the ice after the game.

Kean’s American Sign Language (ASL) Club teamed up with the New Jersey Devils and other partners to celebrate the Deaf community at ASL Night, held during one of the NHL team’s home games at the Prudential Center.

About 175 people representing Kean and other colleges and high schools attended the community outreach event on Thursday, March 7, at which they received ASL Night t-shirts and got to walk on the ice. Kean senior Kyle Nosseir, a psychology major and the public relations director of the University’s ASL Club, worked with the Devils and Prudential Center to promote the event and boost ticket sales.

“I told Kyle during the game, I wouldn’t have been able to do this without his support, promoting the event and getting so many people out,” said Jay Cariaso, senior account executive with the team and Prudential Center. He estimated that about half of the people in the ASL Night section were Deaf. 

ASL Night invited the Deaf community, friends and supporters to enjoy a special evening at the hockey arena. Attendees sat in a special section and enjoyed a performance by the Ocean ASL Society Performers. The event was accessible, with ASL interpreters signing the game, loudspeaker announcements and the National Anthem.

“I wanted to take part in this event because the Deaf community is often overlooked, and there are not many opportunities or fun social events at this scale that are accessible to them,” said Nosseir, who lives in Monroe Township. 

Kean ASL Program Coordinator and ASL Club Advisor AnnMarie Bacino, who is Deaf, said the event was “an opportunity for deaf and signing individuals to gather and socialize as a community.” 

“It was really good to see old and new faces using ASL to communicate without feeling stressed about using my phone to communicate with someone who does not know sign language,” Bacino said. “I felt welcomed.” 

Kean is an official partner of the New Jersey Devils. The Devils and Prudential Center expect to hold an ASL Night again next year, and Kean is again invited to participate. Bacino hopes to see a Deaf performer selected to sign the National Anthem next year, rather than a hearing interpreter.

Nosseir, who is not Deaf, said he began studying ASL because a friend was taking it, and he found the language fascinating. He was also inspired by Bacino. Nosseir graduates in May and will begin Kean University’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate program this summer. He said he hopes to use ASL in the future when working with clients or working cooperatively with speech therapists.

“Working in retail, I currently use ASL with Deaf customers who come in. They often seem very surprised to see someone who knows their language,” said Nosseir.

The ASL Club’s next community outreach event will be Deaf Café Night on April 18 in Cougar's Den.