New lab gives students a head start in safety

April 11, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE - Most people walk into a building without a thought as to whether the building is safe - a sign that the safety engineer has done a good job. For occupational safety management students at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, doing their future jobs will become a step easier with the opening of a new safety and compliance study lab on campus.

A grand opening event was held Friday, March 28, in Room 05 of Russell Hall, to welcome students, faculty and staff to the new lab and to recognize the generosity of the Keller Foundation for donating the majority of the materials available in the lab.

"The Keller Foundation of J.J. Keller and Associates, Inc., donated a list of materials for the lab such as manuals, videos, computer software, access to J.J. Keller and Associates' online program and a computer," said Linda Bouck, assistant professor of industrial studies and the faculty supervisor of the lab. "The gift totals around $70,000, and as our curriculum changes, J.J. Keller and Associates will continue to make donations like this to our program and the University."

Based out of Neenah, J.J. Keller and Associates, Inc., produces an array of training materials related to safety and compliance. Each year, Bouck said, the company donates materials to one school to set up a safety and compliance study lab. To receive the donation, UWP had to meet certain criteria such as offering a program related to risk management and designating a university faculty member to oversee the lab. Bouck volunteered to oversee the lab and two students will be paid to supervise the lab - which is also funded through the donation from J.J. Keller and Associates.

"I became aware of this opportunity through the risk management program at UW-Stout, which had received a similar donation from J.J. Keller and Associates," Bouck said. "I could see what a bonus it would be to our students to have a safety and compliance lab, so I contacted J.J. Keller and Associates. At that time, the Keller Foundation was considering another university, but because UWP showed so much enthusiasm and interests in the lab, the foundation chose us."

Students now have access to the most up-to-date materials used in the field of safety and compliance. With educational systems throughout the state feeling the constraints of budget cuts, the donation couldn't have come at a better time, Bouck said.

"During these difficult times, when we know student tuition will increase despite cutbacks, it's nice to receive something at no additional cost to the students or the University," Bouck said. "So we're very excited about the lab and appreciative of the generosity of J.J. Keller and Associates."

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