College Diabetes Week (CDW) has become a special week for the University of Rochester CDN chapter and our college community. In previous years, we’ve made it our goal to make CDW impactful for not only our chapter, but also our peers, campus and children/families in our community affected by type one diabetes. Previous years of CDW have included educational tabling, celebrations for World Diabetes Day, our “when I hear diabetes, I think…” whiteboard campaign and our Omnipod Challenge.
Educational tabling can sometimes seem tedious, but for our chapter, it has been an incredibly successful way of getting our message across to passing students. With a flashy headline on our banner waving in our campus commons, students have become accustomed to seeing our educational table throughout CDW. We made it interactive by having events such as our “When I hear diabetes, I think…” campaign. Students were invited to write down a stereotype or fact about the word diabetes and take a picture with it. Through this simple initiative, we were able to start important conversations and have a simple, fun way of doing it.
Our Omnipod Challenge was also a great success, where students were invited to wear a demo Omnipod for a day after we educated them about blood sugar ranges, the importance of an insulin pump, pen, or other methods to get insulin, and the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The response to this event was overwhelming. Students were actively engaged in the education and excited at the chance to “try” an Omnipod for a day, accomplishing our awareness goal.
Additionally, World Diabetes Day (November 14th) falls during College Diabetes Week and can be a great opportunity to get the greater community on your campus/ in your city involved. We’ve hosted a family celebration on campus with food, games, and resources for parents and an opportunity for young children to meet each other in a fun, shared space. By working with a local social worker at the University of Rochester’s Hospital, Strong Memorial, we are able to connect with families from the endocrinology department impacted by type one diabetes. Parents and children alike found joy in meeting others facing similar life experiences.
Looking ahead, CDN at the University of Rochester can’t wait for CDW 2019! We’re planning on implementing a new expression wall through our heavily trafficked lecture halls. We’ll be focusing on mental health and diabetes and what different types of diabetes “look like” with chapter member pictures and bios.
Our chapter’s greatest advice for those wanting to participate in CDW, is don’t underestimate your power if you’re a small club! I continue to be amazed by how our club of 5-8 people has had a lasting impact on campus and how peers, professors and community members alike remember us from CDW. Don’t forget to take time, too, to have fun as a chapter and celebrate the accomplishments you have had as people with or impacted by diabetes. Go out to dinner, order take out for a meeting or just spend time talking about the week after all of your hard work has paid off.
Editor’s Note: This article was published before The College Diabetes Network rebranded to The Diabetes Link.
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