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National Safety Council accredits WKU as a Safe Community

WKU today (July 30) became the fourth academic institution worldwide and one of 25 Safe Communities in the U.S. as accredited by the National Safety Council.

Safe Communities logo“When I first became aware of the Safe Communities program, I immediately saw the potential to bring together our campus community focused around the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” David Oliver, director of environmental health and safety and co-chair of the WKU Safe Communities coalition, said. “It provides a strong framework for collaboration, with a valuable recognition component. Our coalition members were very energized from the start, and were all very proud of their respective programs and the impact they have on campus safety.”

The Safe Communities America program is a proven approach to community injury reduction structured around a broad coalition of community partners – involving business, civic organizations, local government, non-profits and local residents.

“The safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors is of the utmost importance,” WKU President Gary Ransdell said. “Receiving this designation from the National Safety Council shows how we at WKU seek partnerships both on and off campus to keep the WKU community safe. We view this as a promise to the WKU family, our community and visitors as well as the National Safety Council ”

Steve Sparrow with the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Kentucky delivered a proclamation from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear declaring July 30 as “Safe Communities America Day” in Kentucky.

Safe Communities announcement

Donna Stein-Harris, senior director of Safe Communities America, and WKU President Gary Ransdell sign the agreement accrediting WKU as the 25th Safe Community in the U.S. WKU Photo by Clinton Lewis.

The application process was completed in July 2014 when Safe Communities reviewers visited WKU for a two-day tour. The visit included an overview of injury prevention efforts and programs on campus.

Safe Communities announcement

Howard Bailey, Vice President for Students Affairs; Donna Stein-Harris, senior director of Safe Communities America; and WKU President Gary Ransdell applaud as David Oliver, Director of Environmental Health and Safety displays WKU’s designation as a Safe Community. WKU Photo by Clinton Lewis.

“We have been very impressed with the way all stakeholders at Western Kentucky University are working together to stay safe,” said Donna Stein-Harris, senior director of Safe Communities America for the National Safety Council. “It is evident that WKU has a strong coalition and a never-ending desire to learn from the past, evaluate the present and work on a better future. They are better positioned to prevent injuries and deaths through this collaborative approach.”

WKU submitted its application in August 2013. A cross-functional group representing various departments and programs that impact campus safety was formed. The group is co-chaired by Anita Britt from Environmental Health and Safety and Sgt. Rafael Casas from WKU Police.

The Safe Communities America National Certifying Center at the National Safety Council guides community stakeholders to reduce injuries and promote safety for the residents of their community.

For more information, visit safecommunitiesamerica.org.

About the National Safety Council

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas that can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.

Contact: David Oliver, (270) 745-4181.

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