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On-campus organization volunteers in community

December 5, 2013

The National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) is an on-campus organization that facilitates and encourages the involvement of Communicative Disorders students to partake in community activities focused around individuals who are at risk or have communicative difficulties.

The national chapter of NSSLHA was founded in 1972, according to the National website.  It is the only official national student association recognized by the American Speech Language Hearing Association. UW-River Falls has had an active chapter since the mid 1970s.

Lindsay Laramy has been the president of NSSLHA since September of 2013.  She said that the organization is a great way to get to know people within the Communicative Disorders field, make professional connections, and help people within the community.

“Students and professionals work together and help each other excel academically as well as personally in NSSLHA,” Laramy said.

The on-campus organization initiates community service projects, volunteers at charity events, and hosts fundraisers each year. One of the volunteer activities that NSSLHA works with on a regular basis is the domestic abuse shelter in River Falls called Turning Point.

“We read and promote literacy to at risk children,” Laramy said. “It is a great way to get to know fellow community members and advertise the speech and hearing clinic on campus and who we are.”

Sharyl Samargia is the faculty advisor for NSSLHA and supervises the organizations involvement with the community and UW-River Falls.

“We host story nights twice per month at Turning Point to the children of the shelter who have been exposed to domestic violence and may be at risk for language and literacy problems,” Samargia said. “The work NSSLHA does with the shelter is to promote prevention of these problems in the River Falls population and to work to prevent, evaluate and treat language disorders in children.”

Some of the other events that NSSLHA has taken a part in so far this year are volunteers at the River Falls Swim Club annual swim meet, a gymnastics lock-in, volunteering at the Crowning Achievements Beauty Pageant, attended a Speech-Language-Hearing Association student conference and played BINGO at the Lutheran home in River Falls.

“We are a very involved organization and we take pride in that,” Laramy said.  “We like to be able to help people and raise awareness for people with a variety of disabilities.”

NSSLHA is primarily for Communicative Disorder majors and minors who are studying to become speech pathologists or audiologists.

Nationally, NSSLHA has approximately 13,000 members with chapters at more than 300 colleges and universities. You can be a part time or full time student at one of these universities, or a graduate or undergraduate student interested in the study of communicative disorders.

“Right now we have 55 active members of the local chapter of NSSLHA who are all undergraduate students,” Samargia said. “We also have approximately 20 students who are national members, undergraduate and graduate students.”

If you are interested in becoming a part of NSSLHA you can join via OrgSync.  For more information about, visit http://www.asha.org/students.