Former Marine has a new mission at MSU Denver
Sage Freeman-Gonzales is on a mission to change the way we think about eating.
The Colorado native and junior marketing major was recognized for his work at the April 13 Student Involvement & Leadership Awards with the Steven M. Hay Leadership Award and the Student Veggie Coalition won the New Student Organization of the Year.
He told Met Media that, “When I started my club around a year ago, I never imagined I’d get any recognition. I just wanted to help people eat healthier and eat less animals,” said Freeman-Gonzalez, who became vegan about a year ago.
Freeman-Gonzalez calls himself an introvert, so it makes sense that he was surprised by the attention his club has received to date. He first learned to come out of his introverted shell when he served in the U.S. Marines. He was able to change the way a few of his fellow Marines thought of vegetarians by being true to his believes. He’s doing it again at MSU Denver thanks to the support he has received on campus.
“I initially went to community college to become an architect,” Freeman-Gonzalez said. “But I lost motivation, didn’t do well and ended up leaving school.”
He worked in a bank for less than a year before he got the urge to go back to school again. This time he picked MSU Denver and started school part time while working at the bank. Part-time school turned into full time after his sophomore year.
“My first year I went to the tutoring center for help with math,” he said. “I ended up with a 4.0 after my first semester and was invited to join an honor society.”
After he received the El Pomar Scholarship Freeman-Gonzalez dedicated himself to school full time and continued to get involved on campus. He found an internship at Northwestern Mutual and became an Orientation Leader. His sophomore year he served as a Supplemental Instruction Leader and Tutor in the Student Academic Success Center. After that he worked on the Homecoming committee for a year before joining the Urban Leadership Program.
“I’ve met so many business executives through the ULP,” he said. In the ULP students are introduced to businesses, their leadership and corporate structure. “I’m especially interested in the companies that influence the sustainable and ethical food movement.”
His short-term goal post graduation is to work for a sustainable food company. Long term he plans to start a business that focuses on health and wellness. His key to success thus far has been to focus on his goals. “Make time for the big things and the little things will fall into place,” he said.
Before he graduates next year, Freeman-Gonzales is planning a conference on animal ethics. It will be a half-day event with speakers from the industry and sustainable food movement. He is planning on a date in April 2017.