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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Cultural groups spread awareness about Diabetes

The Native American Student Affairs office joined forces with campus cultural centers to raise awareness about diabetes and the benefits of teamwork on the UA Mall on Saturday.

From noon until 4 p.m., NASA sponsored the Diabetes Awareness 5K on the Mall with the help of representatives from African American Student Affairs, Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs, and Asian Pacific American Student Affairs. The cultural groups also teamed up with officials from the Student Union Memorial Center, who donated food and T-shirts for the volunteers participating in the student-run event.

More than 35 participants showed up to complete three laps around the Mall, said Chandos Culleen, a graduate assistant for NASA. Throughout the event, the community had the opportunity to visit informational tables to learn more about diabetes, while the Larry Redhouse Trio provided musical entertainment.

“[This event] is about raising awareness,” Culleen said. “Ethnic minorities are hit harder by diabetes than the majority population. For the population that we serve, it is a very important cause to raise awareness about, especially since the biggest thing you could do to prevent diabetes is just make a lifestyle change and become more active.”

The event is the first run that multicultural centers have organized that is specifically for diabetes, according to Culleen.

“There have been multicultural runs in the past and this is definitely a significant improvement in the number, so we are hoping that this will become an annual thing,” Culleen added.

Juan Pereyra, a graduate assistant for the UA Office of LGBTQ Affairs, worked with Fab-U-Life, a business that offers meal-replacement smoothies, to lead a salsa workshop in keeping with the theme of movement. Students from Fab-U-Life also spoke about nutrition and led stretching exercises for the volunteers before they began their run.

“We really wanted to come out here to have fun, and running together was a really great experience,” said Julia Model, a nutritional sciences sophomore and employee of Fab-U-Life. “It is really important to eat healthy, exercise and have fun spending time together.”

Byron Sloan, retailing and consumer sciences and sociology junior and leadership board member for NASA, was in charge of connecting with the other cultural centers. He said he hoped that “students [left] the event with a better connection to the campus.”

“We have over 1200 Native-American students on campus and many of them don’t know about NASA,” Sloan said. “During my first semester I was not involved with center at all. I was fine and didn’t feel lost, but once I got involved, I definitely got to utilize their resources more, like financial aid, scholarships and so forth.”

Jerrin Ben, a psychology senior and leadership board member at NASA, was in charge of registration for the 5K. He said NASA strives to unify the community.

“It is pretty awesome how we have different cultural groups coming out to support this event,” Ben said. “I hope that participants realize the importance of being active in the community, and realize that we don’t have to be separate. We can all work together to achieve a goal.”

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