Photo submitted by Ashley Winters
On April 2, 2020 Ashley Winters was announced the winner of Minneapolis College Store’s T-shirt design contest. Winters has been attending Minneapolis College for three years and is currently studying Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. Winters found out she won the T-shirt design contest around Spring Break. She found inspiration for her design from her participation in the American Sign Language [ASL] program at Minneapolis College. Winters has taken ASL one through three and was president of the ASL Club for two years.
ASL teacher and club advisor, Holly Baker wants everyone at Minneapolis College to know about Winters design and about Winters herself. “The design is [a] fantastic and brilliant idea!” beamed Baker. “I’m very surprised, very appreciative and so proud of my student.” Baker went on to say, “Ashley is passionate to make the [deaf] community [at] Minneapolis College and [the] off-campus [community] gain recognition. She wants to see everyone communicate without barrier[s].”
Winters feel like Baker and ASL are “underappreciated”. “I want to bring awareness to deaf culture,” said Winters. “I mean its challenging, but at the same time it’s a beautiful language. It’s a world we [the hearing world] don’t [normally] see. Holly [Baker] makes it fun and teaches a lot of things that are useful.”
Winters has volunteered for Pride for the past two years and brought up an incident that involved the use of her ASL skills. “I volunteered during pride last summer and the summer before, “said Winters. “Last year, a couple of people came up to us. One was deaf and one was hard of hearing.” At the time, Winters was working with a group of other volunteers. “Out of the four of us, I was the only one who could communicate with them without having to write back and forth.”
Winters wants people to know that ASL is considered a “second language” and meets Minneapolis College’s foreign language requirement. She was quite active on campus before COVID-19 and on April 22, 2020 Winters received an Outstanding Student leadership award during a ceremony given by Minneapolis College’s Student Life . One example of her leadership was the fight to get ASL four added to the Minneapolis College curriculum. “We petitioned for a month straight to get ASL four,” said Winters.
Winters’ T-shirt design spells out Minneapolis College in ASL. It is currently selling for $15.99 and can be found at the Minneapolis College Store website under 2020 Student Designed T-Shirt. General Merchandise Buyer for the Minneapolis College Store , April Moody said, “We had a pretty good response so we were happy,” in response to sales of the T-shirt. “We thought it was a really cool concept to use the sign language,” remarked Moody, “[and] it was a little different.”
Anya Savvy is a pen name for a Minneapolis College student who works as a reporter for City College News. To contact Anya, please email them at anya [at] citycollegenews.com.