The Crimson White

Student group at forefront of campuswide diabetes awareness

Megan Smith

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Something was slightly different about Denny Chimes on Nov. 14, 2012. Lights shone through the trees surrounding the Quad, illuminating the structure in a shade of blue that no one could ignore.

“Just like pink is breast cancer [and] red is AIDS, blue is the color for diabetes,” Koushik Kasanagottu, president of the Diabetes Education Team (DiET), said.

DiET is a student organization focused on heightening awareness of the preventative measures and implications of diabetes. Over the past two years, it has led The University of Alabama’s celebration of World Diabetes Day.

In addition to unity under the color blue, an open-center circle also symbolically represents diabetes awareness worldwide, Kasanagottu said.

This year, Denny Chimes will not be turning blue; however, World Diabetes Day will be highlighted in other forms around campus, Alex Morris, coordinator of DiET’s World Diabetes Day events, said.

“We’re taking a different approach this year – we’re doing a totally student-led blitz throughout campus and social media,” Morris said.

Morris also said DiET will be hosting a table in the Ferguson Center, where literature will be passed out describing a typical day in the life of a diabetic, including times for regular insulin dosages.

The table will also feature rubber food displays to provide visual examples from which students will be challenged to choose the healthiest meal.

Approximately 1 in 9 Alabamians have some form of diabetes, and this number is not shrinking, Kasanagottu said.

In contrast to Type 1, Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is often derived from long-term physical inactivity and poor dietary habits and is largely preventable, according to the American Diabetes Association.

“More than just awareness, we want to give directives to students,” Kasanagottu said. “We want to give examples of unhealthy eating: One sugary drink a day increases your risk of diabetes by 25 percent.”

Morris said students who want to see the return of a blue Denny Chimes next year can like the “Turn Denny Chimes Blue” page on Facebook. To learn more about DiET, visit

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Student group at forefront of campuswide diabetes awareness