Center for the Study of Free Enterprise

Dedicated to providing economics research and education to the students, faculty, and community of Western Carolina University.

Who We Are

Launched in 2017 as a part of Western Carolina University, the Center for Study of Free Enterprise (CSFE) supports our mission  through scholarly inquiry and community engagement. We focus particularly on the areas of economic development, applied research, and free enterprise. We provide research support, student scholarship, teacher training and much more in an effort to promote interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration among faculty, students, and community members.

What We Do

We work to enrich lives in our region by supporting scholars, offering free educational activities for our community, and providing easy-to-access information on public policy and the role of free enterprise in a flourishing society. Explore our current projects, read more about specific issues affecting our region, and find out how to submit your own idea for funding.

For Students

CSFE offers scholarships, fellowships, post-baccalaureate opportunities, and educational lectures for students

Scholarships and Fellowships >>

About Us >>

For Faculty

Access information, tools, and classroom materials / lesson plans designed for educational professionals of all levels.

Educational Resources >>

Submit an Idea for Funding >> 

For the Community

CSFE offers grants to individuals hoping to advance economic understanding through peer-reviewed research and public promotion.

Current Work and Publications >> 

Upcoming Events >>

Opioid and Addiction Town Hall

Thursday October 3, 2019, in the A.K. Hinds University Center, 3rd floor Grand Room
8:15am until 2:30 pm.

This town hall seeks to foster tangible steps that will make significant and lasting contributions to the well-being of the people affected by addiction in the Western North Carolina Region

We hope you will join us as representatives from across our area, state and the southeast provide a forum for discussion and progress. We will also have a panel of experts from Western Carolina University covering a wide variety of topics impacting these issues.

The Director’s Blog

Thoughts from our Founding Director, Dr. Edward Lopez, and other invited contributors. 

EPIC Innovation held their annual Shark Tank, pitch party

EPIC Innovation organized its 5th Annual Fall Pitch Party at Western Carolina University on October 7, 2019 with over 100 people in attendance. EPIC is a student initiative within the College of Business that encourages entrepreneurship through Elevating Potential,...

Speaker Event: Why Do People Die by Suicide?

Part of our mission here at the Center is to support work that helps better understand the determinants of human flourishing. This is why we held our recent awareness campaign and town hall on the opioid & addiction crises, and why we are expanding our efforts in...

Student Voices: Alexia Bevers

Student Voices: Alexia Bevers

Editor's Note: CSFE helped send Ally Bevers, a senior math and econ major, to the Claremont Graduate University Empirical Workshop held June 10th through the 13th, 2019. Ally is planning to enter a doctoral program in finance or economics next fall, so she is already...

Opioid and Addiction Town Hall – Oct 3, 2019

This town hall seeks to foster tangible steps that will make significant and lasting contributions to the well-being of the people affected by addiction in the Western North Carolina Region.


Click here to watch the video on Facebook
Click here to watch the video on our website

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019
Western Carolina University’s UC Grand Room in the A.K. Hinds University Center
8:15am until 2:30 pm.

8:15am – Registration
8:30am – Welcome & Introductions: WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown and Center for the Study of Free Enterprise Director Ed Lopez
8:45-9:30am – Opening Keynote: Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
9:45-10:45am – Panel Discussion 1: Holly Jones, Community Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator at NC Department of Justice, Al Kopak (Criminology & Criminal Justice), WCU alumnus Kevin Rumley, Veterans Treatment Coordinator, Moderator: Lilly Knoepp from Blue Ridge Public Radio
11:00-12:00pm – Panel Discussion 2: WCU faculty experts Beth Young (Social Work),  April Messer (Nursing), Audrey Redford (Economics), Moderator: Cory Vaillancourt from Smoky Mountain News
12:15-1:00pm – Closing Keynote: Senator Jim Davis (R-NC)
1:00pm – Breakout Working Groups

An Out-of-this-World Chat with Charlie Duke

The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise, is excited to host An out-of-this-world chat with Charlie Duke: Apollo Astronaut, Christian Leader & Moonwalker on September 11, 2019.

Charles Moss “Charlie” Duke Jr. is an American former astronaut, retired U.S. Air Force officer and test pilot. As Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 16 in 1972, he became the tenth and youngest person to walk on the Moon.

You can watch the livestream of the event here. Please note: the video is on facebook.com, another viewing source is coming soon. Please check back

Upcoming Events

  1. Scaled up Seminar *invitation only

    February 21, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - February 22, 2020 @ 7:00 pm
  2. Free Enterprise Speaker Series | Magatte Wade, The role of free markets in overcoming poverty

    April 1, 2020 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm