Nutrition lab under construction in Rec – ACU Optimist Online

Laboratory for Experiential Activities and Nutrition under construction in the Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center. (Photo by Riley Fisher)

The Laboratory for Experiential Activities in Nutrition is being constructed in place of the Oasis smoothie bar in the Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

The Laboratory for Experiential Activities in Nutrition (LEAN) is set to open Sing Song Weekend. It will serve as a lab for nutrition students during classes, volunteer activities, presentations and food demonstrations.

Dr. Sheila Jones, chair of the department of kinesiology and nutrition, said the laboratory is not a snack bar and will not look like one and hopes there won’t be that confusion.

“The inspiration came from wanting to incorporate more experiential activities in our nutrition courses and prepare our students to be master communicators of nutrition information,” Jones said.

The LEAN will include a kitchen area with industrialized equipment. The design plans for the kitchen are modern.

“I think it is a perception that everyone knows about nutrition, but they really do not,” Jones said. “In my nutrition and wellness class for non-nutrition majors, most realize how deficient their diets are after a diet analysis assignment. People don’t know the importance of each nutrient and how to get them. There are many, many misperceptions about nutrition, and the Internet is a huge source of misinformation.”

Madaleen Acosta, junior nutrition major from Edinburg, said she believes the LEAN was needed for nutrition majors because it will allow her to take what she is learning in class and put it into practice.

“I believe it will not only be beneficial to nutrition students here at ACU, but non-nutrition majors as well,” Acosta said. “Throughout the semester, nutrition majors will be giving presentations and food demonstrations at the LEAN, educating about the concepts we are learning in our classes. For example, one of our assignments is to give a cooking demonstration with a food that is high in a particular vitamin while talking about the benefits and functions of it.”

Meda Bow, sophomore nutrition major from Stephenville, said although an upgraded kitchen was much needed, she doesn’t think the location was the best choice.

“As someone who is frequently in the gym, I would have benefited from a new smoothie place or snack bar much more,” Bow said. “Obviously I am not a builder and don’t know that aspect, but in my opinion I think a different classroom in the Rec could have been converted to a kitchen and the old Oasis could have been reopened as something else for people in the gym to have.”

The LEAN will be used for demonstrations with food preparation and nutrition education. The front of the lab will be completed with a glass window, so anyone in the Rec Center can see what is taking place inside the lab.

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