Behavior and Social Change Campaign: May 2018 Update

May 9, 2018

Kelley Dennings 2018

New Dream’s Social and Behavior Change fellow, Kelley Dennings, has spent years studying and working at the intersection of environmental science and social and behavioral change. In June 2017, she launched a pilot project for New Dream exploring people’s motivations, perceptions, and thoughts around reducing personal consumption. 

As part of her research, Kelley conducted two surveys* and a pledge/email intervention during the busy holiday shopping period at the end of 2017. Her focus was on assessing people's interest in shifting their gift giving away from material goods to experiences, with the expectation that this would increase overall happiness and well-being and reduce impacts on the environment.

Kelley recently completed her master's program in public health at the University of South Florida and expects to wrap up her research in June 2018. (To access her research, visit here.) In the meantime, she is presenting her results to various conferences and submitting abstracts to academic journals.

In April, Kelley spoke at the Sierra Club of New York City on the topic of "Over Consumption and Economic Growth" as part of the group's Sustainability Series. She presented alongside Dr. Joshua Farley, a professor and fellow in ecological economics at the University of Vermont, and Reverend Billy (Talen), a singing and preaching environmental activist and founder of the Stop Shopping Choir. 

Kelley also is presenting her research to both the Virginia Recycling Association and the small group meeting on "The Psychology of Sustainable Consumption." She will be pursuing additional opportunities to showcase her research throughout 2018.  

For questions about Kelley's research or to invite her as a speaker or presenter, please contact New Dream at

* Special thanks to the City of Raleigh Solid Waste Services Department for their donation to conduct the paid survey.