By now, the catch phrase “NewRec” has dissipated and classic, simple “UREC” has returned as campus lingo. In the mean time, UREC has continued to offer new activities and services to JMU students since the grand reopening.

Not everyone has gotten on board with the idea of walking into the gym and smelling food prepared by a fully functioning dining facility located INSIDE the gym, but the new demo kitchen is something every student could easily get on board with.

Located just a slight right from the entrance, the new UREC demo kitchen facility offers students a place to eat free food, learn a thing or two about cooking, and expand their knowledge on healthy eating.

These classes may not teach you How to Cook with Beer, but here are nine reasons why every JMU student needs to attend a UREC cooking class. 

1. Go because UREC and the demo kitchens are incredible and state-of-the-art, and because JMU is awesome

Everyone can agree that the NewREC facilities are state-of-the-art and distinguish JMU from other [mediocre] Virginia colleges (sorry not sorry #dukedogpride). Your tuition has already paid for it, so you might as well enjoy it.

2. You don't have to be athletic, fit, eat healthy, or even care about eating healthy to attend

If you're anything like me, your favorite foods are hamburgers and donuts and your ideal workout is 20 minutes on the elliptical. Even though the classes are centered around healthy living, the classes cater to just about everyone. Plus, if you've never been to UREC before, the cooking classes are the perfect excuse to finally learn what the inside of UREC looks like. 

3. Students can attend the classes for free

The statement speaks for itself. It's FREE. 

4. You actually get to eat the food you learn how to make

Each session incorporates one recipe that uses heathy ingredients and substitutes. To win you over on the idea, instructors encourage you eat some of the food created during the class to highlight how delicious healthy foods can actually taste.

5. Expand your taste bud comfort zone and discover food substitutes that will blow your mind

I'm no mathematician, but there's a 89.76% chance the ingredients the instructors use are healthy alternatives the majority of students have never even heard of, let alone tasted before. Don't let preconceived stigmas prevent you from tasting the delicious promises of cauliflower-based Alfredo sauce or dates-based brownies. 

6. Freshman and procrastinating seniors: the cooking classes count as a wellness passport event

The second you sit down in your seat, where JMU purple plates mark your table setting, you will completely forget you're there by class mandate. As an upperclassman that went to their fair share of HTH 100 passport events, I can guarantee that the UREC cooking classes will be one of your favorite, most delicious passport events. 

7. The instructors could potentially be the next Food Network Star 

Not only are all of the instructors JMU students, they are also devout foodies. The excitement, energy, and knowledge these Dukes teach with will have you thinking your JAC card gave you access to a live screening of a Food Network cooking show (insert Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Ina Garten, and the occasional Snoop Dogg). 

8. Each class is insightful and educational (in the best way possible) 

Because most instructors are nutrition majors, they share health and nutritional information about the substitute compared to the original ingredients. Essentially, you will no longer regret eating six brownies in one sitting because you learn the incredible health benefits found in cocoa powder.

9. It's only about half an hour of awesome 

The instructors get down to business. You eat, learn, eat again, and leave with just enough time to rush home and make some food yourself.

Whether you’re a freshman dreading the freshman 15, stuck in a dorm and miss your moms cooking, or a senior ready to graduate (goodbye adulating and ramen, hello adulthood and homemade meals), every Duke could benefit from attending a cooking class in UREC’s new demo kitchen.