Monique Buissereth ’17 arrived on the Le Moyne campus with a lofty long-term goal: to earn a degree in nursing and establish a hospice for terminally ill men and women who are homeless and without family. A veteran of the Navy and Marine Corps, Buissereth is well on her way to achieving that aim, thanks in part to Sustainability For Scholarships (SFS). The brainchild of Derek Matina ’18, SFS uses the funds raised from redeeming bottles and cans to provide scholarships for veterans and their dependents.
“The Sustainability Scholarship means so very much,” says Buissereth. “I want to ensure that I am a well-educated nurse, and the scholarship will help me with the financial aspect of reaching that goal. I will be able to truly focus on school and not worry so much about paying bills, and that will help me finish strong.”
A marketing and information systems major in the Madden School of Business, Matina founded SFS in 2015 as a way to honor veterans like his grandfather and great-grandfather, who both served in the Army during World War II. In that respect, the organization is not just a striking example of social entrepreneurship, but of the enduring connection between the Greatest Generation and the Millennial Generation. To date, the SFS has raised approximately $7,500 and provided six scholarships to help veterans or their loved ones finance their educations and realize their aspirations.
“I am blown away by how Derek raises money and why he started this program,” says Air Force veteran Meghan Delaney ’19 of Auburn, N.Y., who, like Buissereth, is studying nursing. “Having the support from civilians by setting up scholarship opportunities for us is just one reason I continue and love to serve my country.”
Despite the enormous work that has gone into making those scholarships possible, Matina says that meeting the recipients – and learning about their stories and plans for the future – makes it all worth it. He constantly challenges himself to raise more money, to be more efficient and to have a wider impact. Following his graduation in May, Matina will begin working full time in the merchandising department of Wegmans. However, he will continue to serve his community, including through SFS.
“As for the future, we’ll just get bigger,” he says. “We’ll keep growing the charity.”
Scholarships and Fellowships