How To Help Beau Solomon's Family & Honor His Life In This Tragic Time
Nothing can compare to the loss experienced by Beau Solomon's grieving family, but when news broke of the 19-year-old study abroad student's death in Rome, Italy, I felt a personal connection to the tragedy. Having been fortunate enough to study abroad twice during my college career, as well as work in my school's study abroad office for three years, I know that a tragedy like this is the absolute worst nightmare of friends, family, and the student body. Many, including myself, immediately wanted to learn how to help Beau Solomon's family in whatever way possible.
Solomon, who had arrived to Rome just hours beforehand, had gone out to a local espresso bar with friends before being reported as missing last Friday. The student's roommate grew concerned when Solomon did not show up for orientation the following morning and altered authorities. Officials found Solomon's body in the Tiber River on Monday morning with a head wound and blood on his shirt, and have since charged 40-year-old homeless man Massimo Galioto with aggravated murder, according to USA TODAY.
It appears that the Solomon family does not currently have a direct donation page set up. However, there are other ways to support Solomon's family and friends during this time.
You can stay up to date on community events honoring the life of the student on the R.I.P. Beau Solomon Facebook page. Friends have been using the page to send updates regarding vigils and memorial services, organize events, as well as show support to one another and the family. With over 2,000 users so far, the admins offered an open invitation for those wanting to join the group. Friends and family have also used the hashtag #bringbeauhome on Twitter to share support for the family.
Solomon was also a staff member of the Boys Badger State, a youth program designed to teach young men the workings of the government. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker shared a photo of himself and Solomon during last month's program, expressing his sadness over the tragedy. To honor Solomon, an individual or organization could sponsor a boy attending the week-long program.
And while a tragedy like Solomon's is not unprecedented, it is rare. According to an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, students studying overseas are in fact 2.8 times safer than those on American campuses. Student deaths abroad would have to more than double before surpassing fatalities state-side. I know that my own school spent an extended period of time vetting places for safety prior to signing off on any new program location.
In this vein, perhaps one of the best ways to honor the study abroad student is to travel. The chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison said Solomon had a "desire to travel and experience other cultures" that embodied Wisconsin ideals, and to do so in his honor would likely mean a great deal to his memory.