The Total Communications Club is teaming up with Ole Miss head football coach Houston Nutt and his family to raise awareness about the deaf community.
The club is hosting a free spring social for the deaf community at 5 p.m. Tuesday (March 29) at the football practice field on Hill Drive. Attendees can watch football practice, have a chance to meet the players and tour the facilities. Entry to the practice is at the west side gate on Hill Drive.
Nutt and his brother, Danny Nutt, UM assistant athletics director for player development, are set to speak at the event. Their parents taught at the Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock, so this is a special occasion for the family, Houston Nutt said.
“After Danny and I spoke to the communication sciences and disorders class in early March, we could see the excitement and enthusiasm among the students and how eager they are to learn such a remarkable trade,” he said. “We are just so excited to be helping with the deaf social this spring. The social will take place at our second spring football practice. I really think this will bring excitement to the group in attendance, and I always love the opportunity of raising awareness of my deaf heritage.”
Earlier that day, his mother, Emogene Nutt, will speak to the Total Communication Club, communication science and disorders students and deaf members of the Oxford community. Her talk is set for 1:30 p.m. in the Indoor Practice Facility Banquet Room, and she also plans to attend the social.
The Total Communications Club is made up of students majoring in communication sciences and disorders. The group was formed about five years ago, said Rebecca Lowe, UM clinical assistant professor, director of audiology and faculty adviser for the club.
“The club is designed to bridge the gap between the hearing and deaf community,” Lowe said.
Planning and putting on the social has been a learning experience for the club members, said Blann Phillips, a senior from Greenville and the organization’s president.
“We started having these socials last semester after a deaf education teacher came to the clinic on campus asking for us to plan and organize these events,” Phillips said. “These socials are for people who are deaf and/or hard-of-hearing in the Oxford community. We want to give them an opportunity to socialize and share experiences with one another. This is also a great opportunity for students taking sign language here at Ole Miss. Students have a firsthand opportunity to use their sign language in real life instead of just in the classroom.”
The Total Communications Club also has a sign language team called the Ole Miss Hand Band. The Hand Band signs at Ole Miss football games during the national anthem and at other places in the community such as banquets, conferences and at assisted living facilities.
The late Houston Nutt Sr. and Emogene Nutt ran the Arkansas School for the Deaf from 1956 to 1987. She taught English and her husband was dean of students, athletics director and basketball coach.
She was named Mother of the Year in 1998 by American Mothers Inc., an interfaith, nonpolitical, nonprofit organization that promotes the role of motherhood.
“It’s such a prestigious award and I was so humbled to be thought of in such a manner,” Emogene Nutt said. “I’ve always treated my students just like I would one of my own.”
For more information on the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, go tohttp://www.olemiss.edu/depts/comm_disorders/.