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Thank you for your interest in the 8th regional Consumer Issues Conference: Focus on Energy and Telecommunications at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming.  We had an excellent program and an informative conference and tours. The audio (and video of the introductory plenary session) on September 25 is now available on the program page.

Topics Include
The 2008 Consumer Issues Conference features the dual topics of energy and telecommunications. Our aim is to increase awareness of informational and policy resources from experts’ presentations, exhibits and poster sessions. Sessions planned for 2008 include:

  • Federal Trade Commission regulations on energy and telecommunications by Dee Pridgen of UW’s College of Law,
  • Wyoming’s future energy options by Mark Northam, Director of UW’s School of Energy Resources,
  • Energy and sustainability by Eric Arnould of the University of Wyoming,
  • Ethanol - Good or Bad for Consumers? by Tim Burkink of the University of Nebraska at Kearney,
  • Policy in energy and telecommunications, and a
  • A multi-session theme on energy saving buildings covering topics related to house building techniques, benefits & criticisms of LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the need for a statewide building energy code.
Click here to see brochure.

Registration fees for the Consumer Issues Conference are kept low so that cost is not barrier to attendance. The early registration deadline is September 11. Registration includes snacks and lunch buffet.

Early registration: $50
     Late registration: $60

Early registration: $40
     Late registration: $50

Students: Registration is free, lunch buffet is $10.

Registration for the 2008 conference is closed.

Featured Speaker

Felicity Barringer – The New York Times, National Correspondent (Environment)

Felicity Barringer was appointed national correspondent (environment) for The New York Times in September 2003. Previously, Ms. Barringer had been United Nations bureau chief since February 2003. Before that she had been a media reporter at The Times since April 1998, covering stories such as the Los Angeles Times-Staples Center controversy and the merger of the Tribune Company and Times Mirror

Call for Posters  (late submissions accepted)
Do you have a poster you would like to present on research or a project related to the conference themes? Submit your 300 word or less abstract by Monday, 23 June 2008 (late submission accepted until 11 September). Information is on the submission guidelines sheet.

Special Events
Friday tours: At this special event registrants will visit four energy-oriented projects. First we will observe a complete residential energy audit conducted on a Laramie house by Wyoming Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor Dave Bunn and discuss appropriate recommendations for improving energy efficiency in that home. Next we will walk through UW’s new Indoor Practice Facility featuring its many energy conscious features. Lunch will then be provided at the Curt Goudy State Park. After lunch we will visit a hybrid straw bale house and discuss its features with an architect. Finally we will travel to the new wind farm located on Happy Jack Road near Cheyenne and tour one of the windmills. Details can be found on the program page. Registration is required as space is limited. The tours will begin at 8am and will return about 4:30.

Consumer Issues Conference: Energy Tours: Visit four sites in the Laramie and Cheyenne Area at which you’ll be able to participate in a residential energy audit, view energy conservation features of UW’s new indoor practice facility, walk through a hybrid straw bale house and view a wind farm (including a turbine).  Information is at . Registration is required (only $10), lunch is included. The tour will depart at 8am and return to Laramie at 4:30pm. For more information contact Dee Pridgen at or (307) 766-6418

Exhibits Exhibitors are welcome to reserve a table at the conference to display information of use to participants. To request exhibit space, complete the "Call for Conference Exhibitors" Form.

Federal Trade Commission
Federal Communications Commission Denver District Office
GSA Federal Citizen Information Center
University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service
University of Wyoming Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Wyoming Agrability
University of Wyoming Students' Attorney Program
Wyoming Energy Council
Green Build Technology, LLC

Exhibited Resources Made Available by Conference Organizers
Consumer Action
Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC)
Federal Reserve System
Securities Division of Wyoming Secretary of State
US Bureau of Justice
US Department of Labor
US FDA Office of Women’s Health
US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)
Wyoming State Legislature Directory

The Natural Gas Education Program. Jason Jones  & Jorge Atiles. University of Georgia
Green Architecture and the Affect on Energy Consumption. Elisa Bender. University of Wyoming
State Energy Policy: Implications for Consumers and Consumer Policy. Carole Makela. Colorado State University
Measuring Identity Theft at Telecommunications Companies.  Chris Jay Hoofnagle. University of California, Berkeley
Californians' Attitudes Towards Privacy of Telecommunications Location Information.  Jennifer King & Chris Jay Hoofnagle. University of California, Berkeley
Energy Saving Houses in Laramie for Habitat for Humanity.
Tyler Robison and Anthony Denzer, University of Wyoming

Ad Council Campaign for Energy Efficiency (targets children and families)

Energy Efficiency Publications, University of Alaska

US Department of Energy's Building America Downloadable PDFs of best energy-efficient building practices for various climate zones.

Information on Saving Home Energy 16 brochures on existing home energy conservation/weatherization information.

Winter Heating Conference: Preparing Wyoming for Large, Long Term Cost Increases, Casper, Wyoming, August 20 from 1 to 5pm.

Biobased Industry Outlook Conference, September 7-10 at Iowa State University (Ames, IA). The 2008 Growing the Bioeconomy Conference will focus on strategies to achieve the new federal cellulosic biofuels mandate and advance the Midwestern Governors Association energy and climate change platform. Tracks include feedstock development; bioprocessing; utilization; economics and policy; human, social and community development dimensions of the bioeconomy; and biofuels and climate change.

Fuel Economy As the price of fuel continues to rise, this site continues to be as timely as when it first came online in October 1999. The site is maintained by the US Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and it provides fuel-saving tips, fuel economy estimates, and so on.


Energy Resources, Colorado State University


Green Design Institute The Green Design Institute is a "major interdisciplinary education and research effort to make an impact on environmental quality through green design." The primary goal of the Institute is to form partnerships with industry, government, and other foundations in order to develop processes that "can improve environmental quality and product quality while enhancing economic development." Located at Carnegie Mellon, the Institute involves faculty, students, and other partners in their efforts to develop practical pollution prevention technologies and lower costs by recycling scarce resources, using fewer raw materials, and creating better products.


Governor's Energy Office (Colorado)

25 x '25 Coalition. The Coalition envisions that by 2025, America's farms, forests and ranches will provide 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States. 25x'25 is supported financially by the Energy Future Coalition, a non-partisan public policy initiative funded by foundations.

US Green Building Council - LEED certification

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) SWEEP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting greater energy efficiency in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. On their website are a number of useful factsheets.

College of Business & Technology at the University of Nebraska at Kearney

School of Energy Resources, University of Wyoming

Utah Committee of Consumer Services

Federal Communications Commission


Federal Trade Commission


Hear Us Now, A Consumers Union website on communications issues and choices.


An Outbreak of Caring: Stung by Complaints, Telecoms Stress Customer Service (The Washington Post, 30 April 2008)


Wyoming State Energy Program  Information on alternative energy source programs and funding.

Wyoming Home Performance with ENERGY STAR

Wyoming Energy Council

Wyoming Low-Income Energy Assistance Program

Wyoming Governor's office

Conference Hotels
The Planning Committee has set aside a block of rooms at two nearby hotels for use by those registering for the conference. 

The **Comfort Inn located is at 3420 E. Grand Ave., Laramie, WY 82070. The rate is $85.99 per night plus taxes. 
You must make your own reservation by September 1 by calling (307) 721-8856 or (800) 228-5150.

The **Holiday Inn is located at 204 30th street, Laramie, WY 87070. The rate is $109 per night plus taxes. You must make your own reservation by September 1 by calling (307) 721-9000.

** Conference rate available, make your reservation by September 1

Professional Credits
Various continuing education credits are available:

  • American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences - 11 PDUs. Please print the certificate, fill in your name and present it at the registration table for signature by Dee Pridgen or Ginny Vincenti when registering for the conference.
  • CLE (Continuing Legal Education) - 5.75 hrs.
  • Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) - 1/2 Credit Unit
  • Participation in this conference may qualify for up to 11 hours of Professional Development Hours (PDH), Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) or Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE) to maintain Professional Engineering (PE) or American Institute of Architects (AIA) membership status. Please print the certificate, fill in your name and present it at the registration table when registering for the conference.

Media Releases
Check here for conference media releases. They include information on the program and events

Project Objectives
The Consumer Issues Conference addresses consumer problems or issues. We define these as threats of fraud or misinformation, unfair advantage relative to consumers, or problems that cause some harm or risk to consumers. As a planning group our objectives are to

  • Develop an understanding of consumer issues and awareness of resources available to prevent and address them,
  • Empower consumers to address specific consumer concerns through education, collaboration, and participation in the public policy process,
  • Create opportunities for networking that can lead to collaboration among interested parties with different perspectives on consumer issues,
  • Improve consumer wellbeing through changes in personal actions and state and local government policy, (e.g. legislation introduced and/or passed, regulation, and funding), and
  • Empower students to create well researched position papers and presentations on a specific consumer issue to relevant experts and policymakers, including legislators.

The Planning Committee

Dee Pridgen, College of Law
University of Wyoming, Associate Dean and Carl M. Williams Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, CoChair

Virginia Vincenti, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
University of Wyoming, Professor, CoChair

N. Denise Burke, College of Law
University of Wyoming, Assistant Dean

Cole Ehmke, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
University of Wyoming
, Extension Specialist in Personal Finance

Elizabeth Goudey, Esq., Students' Attorney Office
University of Wyoming, ASUW Students' Attorney

Robert Kubichek, College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Wyoming, Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Carol Makela, Consumer and Family Studies
Colorado State University, Professor

Mark Moran, State of Wyoming Attorney General’s office and Laramie County Municipal Judge

Chris Petrie, Wyoming Public Service Commission
State of Wyoming, Secretary and Chief Counsel

Terri Rittenburg, College of Business
University of Wyoming
, Associate Professor of Department of Management and Marketing.

Our program supporters provide financial as well as in-kind contributions to bring about this annual event.

The New York Times
UW School of Energy Resources
Associated Students of the University of Wyoming (ASUW)
UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Natural Resources Dean's Office
UW College of Engineering Dean's Office
UW College of Law Dean's Office
UW Cooperative Extension Service
UW Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
UW Office of the President UW Foundation
Albany County Tourism Board (pending)


If you or your organization would like to support this project as it raises awareness, and empowers and connects consumers to address public policy issues, then contact Dee Pridgen or Virginia Vincenti. The Consumer Issues Conference is a highly-rated event that has a history of creating impact. Participants mainly come from across Wyoming as well as Colorado and Nebraska.

Past Conference Websites
Focus on Energy and Telecommunications
Money Matters (2007)
Home on the Range (2006)

Consumer Activism: Health Issues (2005)

Copyright © 2008 University of Wyoming College of Agriculture.
This page was last updated on March 25, 2010 .
Website designer, Randy L. Anderson