Shooting Star Foundation creates open forums of dialogue
Organization discusses dangers of party drugs
The Shooting Star Foundation is working to shine a light within the University community this school year, aiming to raise awareness about the consequences of various party drugs through a series of events. The organization was founded following the passing of Shelley Goldsmith, a second-year College student whose death last year was linked to the use of the popular drug MDMA, or “Molly”.
“The first thing is to facilitate dialogues within U.Va. on the dangers associated with party drug use and, in a larger sense, any risky behavior,” said third-year Commerce student Elyse Eilerman, president of Shooting Star. “Also, we’re trying to honor and commemorate anyone within the U.Va. community that’s been impacted by these issues.”
The co-founders’ personal connections to the cause has encouraged the group to develop a dedicated set of individuals who care deeply about the issue.
“The girls are really connected to the cause and their passion for it really inspired me to join it,” second-year College student Alison Snow said. “The group of girls that I am working with [is] just really awesome, which made the organization more fun to be a part of.”
The group aims to raise awareness broadly about drug use at the University, and create a platform for discussion about its impact.
“People deserve to know more about MDMA and the effects that it can have,” Eilerman said. “We can give [students] an opportunity to think about what they’re doing and not just make decisions without fully considering the consequences.”
Sunday, the group held its first major event of the year, an educational and commemorative event with the sorority Delta Gamma.
“[The event] encompasses everything that we’re trying to do,” Eilerman said. “It’s a holistic event and then beyond that, we’d love to partner with other organizations like Sustained Dialogue just to get people thinking about this and also to remember everyone within the U.Va. community [who] has been impacted.”
The event featured various speakers from the student body who discussed how they were impacted by drug use.
“This [event] entails the initial steps in creating a community that can freely engage in dialogue revolving around drug use without fear of judgment,” said Shooting Star Vice President Nadine Hussein, a third-year Commerce student. “With it, we hope to highlight the need for an extensive discussion that will hopefully become an inherent one on Grounds for years to come.”
The organization plans to host a Battle of the Bands and several poetry slams in the coming months to encourage different forms of discussion on the issue of party drugs.