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Alena Olsen Fights Climate Change with CARE

  • 22 Apr 2020

Olsen and that game-winning try from the 2018 Glendale 7s

USA RUGBY – We can all remember the Alena Olsen from Glendale 2018. Debut tournament with the Women’s Eagles Sevens, at home in Glendale, final play against France in the semifinals and she bolts down the pitch to score the winning try (lead photo) and ultimately lift the U.S. to a silver medal. 

On the pitch, Olsen gives every shred of energy to bettering herself as a rugby player.

Off the pitch, she’s just as passionate about global climate change and sustainability through her work with the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce.

As is the case for any national team player, the balance between rugby and life outside of it can be a sincere juggle. Especially when the devotion to winning medals must also leave space for a career when the playing days are over.

“It’s been a priority of mine to develop a career outside of rugby,” says Olsen. “Everyone was getting jobs and I didn’t have a lot of security coming into residency and fresh out of college.

“I’ve always loved nature, but it took me basically all the way through college to realize I wanted a career out of it. I just care about the world and people and felt this was a fight worth fighting.”

Olsen is an International Green Business Certification Director. She works anywhere from five to 20 hours per week to create programs that rate businesses on their environmental sustainability.

“The program gives businesses tools to assess their energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, transportation and community engagement. We want them to be aware of their carbon footprint and take actions to reduce it. This is also great for business because it asks them to maximize their resources and save money in multiple sectors.

“My aim is to learn as much as I can about sustainability, business and what it’s like working outside the rugby setting. Thankfully, the CARE program has allowed me to do this.”

Through the CARE program, funded by the Golden Eagles, Olsen can invest in her work with the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, an area where she is truly passionate and creating global impact, while also focusing on her Olympic goals.

Olsen can pursue both endeavors, rugby and global sustainability, as the CARE program fosters paid internships with tangible work experience. Not only was she able to pick an area of interest that was important to her, Olsen now has a portfolio and a business network to propel her post athletic career.

“Overall, my career goal is to make an impact; educate communities and inspire them to act. This is really the first time I’ve tried using my rugby connections and platform to do so.”

For Earth Day, Olsen rallied several members of the USA Men’s and Women’s National Teams to make a Global Climate Pledge in support of her efforts with the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce. As an ambassador for rugby and global sustainability, she’s been able to fuse two endeavors into one while encouraging others to support an important cause. 

As for balancing the two — rugby and work off the pitch — Olsen has tremendous support from coaches, the CARE program and her superior at the USGCC.

“My boss and CEO, Michelle Thatcher, is so kind and flexible. If I need to disappear for a week or two, she gives me the space to focus on rugby. I’m learning so much and it helps pull me away from hard training weeks to focus on something larger than just myself and my team.”

According to Olsen, Earth Day is about the birth of large environmental movements. And in her view, the community still has a part to play by taking the Global Climate Pledge.

“This is the easiest thing they can do! There is a list of actions ranging in difficulty. Just choose the one you want to try and make an honest effort. No one can be perfectly sustainable. It’s about moving millions of people to small actions that can make a larger impact.”

For more information about the Global Climate Pledge, visit

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