By Kristin Conklin, Broadside Correspondent

Last Saturday, George Mason University hosted the third TAP Chef Cooking on a Budget event, as part of TAP’s (which stands for Townhouses, Apartments) annual, campus-wide Young, Broke and Fabulous program.

“Participants are required to cook a budget-friendly meal, under $10, in 30 to 45 minutes,” said Malissa Brennan, the TAP residence director.

One contestant, Kelley Towne, a junior and Communication major showed up with groceries in hand, ready to show off her cooking skills.

“I like to cook and it seemed like fun,” Towne said. “Plus, these events need support.”

On the menu was chicken stir-fry. With just five ingredients, Towne cooked up a simple meal, fit for any college student on a budget.

Towne brought with her chicken, white rice, canned crushed pineapple, frozen vegetables and soy sauce.

Towne first heated the chicken in a pan along with the frozen vegetables and cooked until tender. She then added the crushed pineapple and cooked for a few minutes more. She then added salt to taste and served it all atop white rice.

This event is part of the TAP’s Young, Broke and Fabulous program, which included seven events in total. With the program in its third year, it is a way for students to learn how to live on a budget, especially during hard economic times. Each year, TAP chooses different events, catering towards the students’ needs.

This year’s program focused on helping students deal with the economic difficulties by finding creative ways to budget their money.

Other events were equally helpful. Give the Gift of Thrift Crafts: Gifts on a Budget, and Darn . . . Student Loans! Money Matters both gave students tips on how to make money last, especially when having to deal with paying off student loans.

Don’t be a Dummy, Save Money: Craig’s List 101 helped students one-on-one, showing that Craig’s List can be a valuable tool, if used right. It cannot only be used to possibly find a job, but also to sell and buy things.

Getting the perfect resume is important to college students and Let Me See That Resume: Resume Workshop aided in getting students the resume help needed to land a job.

The last event of the program is Free Cycle: Re-invent Your Junk, which will give students a chance to donate their belongings to others who are in need of basic items. The date, time and location of the event are to be announced.

Each year TAP creates programs geared towards residents living in the area, as well as focusing on the Mason campus as a whole. Since the economic times have forced students to cut back on essential items, this program helped show that living on a budget can be a good learning experience.