WKU receives ‘Safe Community’ designation

Shantel-Ann Pettway

WKU received an uncommon accreditation this past summer when The National Safety Council recognized WKU as a Safe Community on July 30. WKU was the fourth academic institution to receive this award. 

The National Safety Council promotes injury prevention and ways to decrease deaths in communities worldwide. 

Though it’s accredited as a Safe Community, David Oliver, director of Environmental Health & Safety believes the title could be misunderstood.

“To be recognized as a Safe Community doesn’t make WKU safe,” he said. “It’s solely validation that there are programs established on campus that meet the standards of this outside organization.  It’s up to the university to be proactive and reactive to situations that arise on campus.” 

Despite the effort that goes into improving WKU safety, some officials admit everything is not perfect. 

“It’s impossible for our community to stay totally safe, but that’s what keeps Western on its toes,” Rafael Casas, sergeant of the WKU Police, said.  

Anita Britt, environmental air quality specialist, said it is everyone’s job to look for ways WKU can improve safety.

“Our job is to keep our standards and efforts high as leaders on this campus,” she said. “When all departments pinpoint what they see as a possible problem we are better prepared to meet the needs of those on our campus.”

Oliver said one of the reasons for why WKU got the accreditation was because of the Student Government Association safety walk. 

 The walk is a tour around campus where WKU officials and students find areas that may be unsafe.

“This walk lets students express what they felt would better Western’s university,” he said. “We improved lighting down Normal Drive as a result of our students’ concern.”

Britt said safety goes beyond accident prevention.

 “As a member of the department of safety, we monitor programs like suicide prevention, housing and residence life and others to minimize foreseeable risks,” Britt said.