If you want to learn tips on cooking or maybe need some financial questions answered, you need to visit the Zone on campus.

The Student Engaged Learning Zone (the Zone), located inside the Sorensen Student Center west hallway, is an environment where students can participate for free in action learning activities and hobbies each weekday around noon.

The Zone offers an assortment of interests for students, including a Hallway Gourmet, arts and crafts, fitness and self-improvement, travel and entertainment, and a variety of other activities.

“The whole philosophy of the Student Engaged Learning Zone is that students can sit down and learn things that are of interest to them for free,” said Grant Flygare, Director of Student Involvement.

“The Zone was born out of a survey that we did back in fall of 2007,” he added. “The response that we received was extremely interesting. We found that students are very interested in life-engaging and self-improving activities.”

According to the survey results, learning how to cook ranked as the fourth highest desirable activity.

“The Hallway Gourmet teaches students how to cook every Tuesday at noon,” said Flygare. “We have two professional chefs who trade off. One is from the community and one is from the school.”

Last Wednesday, Val Brown, Director of Food Services, showed students how to prepare and roast a turkey with dressing in the demonstration kitchen that is set up in the Zone.

Brown said that since some students will not be going home this Thanksgiving, he decided to demonstrate to students how to cook a turkey dinner and how to make dressing from almost nothing.

“We want it to be educational as possible,” said Brown. “We try to get the students to cut up vegetables, open cans, and get them to participate in the demonstration.”

Another feature of the Zone is the Tiki Hut, which is a place where students can go for advice concerning various topics.

“We have a professional from Utah Community Credit Union who gives advice to students every Tuesday at noon at the Tiki Hut,” said Flygare. “You can sit down and ask the professional any financial questions you want, and they will answer them and also give you a free smoothie to drink.”

In addition to these features, the Zone offers a Cars & Drivers forum on certain days, where students can get free advice about a problem they might be having with their car from mechanics from the automotive department.

Flygare said that the mechanics may be able to answer your automotive question on the spot or they may have you bring it in for a free consultation.

The purpose of the Zone is to connect students to the campus and with other students.

“If you feel connected, it empowers you in so many ways,” said Flygare. “You are healthier physically, psychologically, and you will perform better in the classroom.”

He added that if students feel socially connected with campus, they will stay, which increases student retention rate for the university.

“You don’t need an appointment, you don’t need to pay for anything, and you don’t need to do anything except come, sit down, and learn,” said Flygare.

Contact the Office of Student Involvement at 863-8682 or stop by LC 102B for more information.