OU teams up with Auburn Hills as banner buddies

By Ali DeRees

As you make your way down University Drive headed to campus, you may have noticed some new signs hanging from the light poles that line the road. Oakland University and the City of Auburn Hills have teamed up in an advertising project that benefits both the city and university.

According to Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing John Young, these banners are a part of the city and university’s The University Drive Streetscape project.

“The fourteen banners are one component of a jointly funded multi component project that started with the city painting the street poles black,” Young said.

Auburn Hills Assistant City Manager Tom Tanghe said, “The banners were a total of $5,325.00. 50% allocated to OU and fifty percent paid by the Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority which is an economic development arm of the City.”

Young enjoys working with the city and the relationship they have built from working with one another.

“The City Of Auburn Hills and Oakland University have a very good working relationship on many fronts,” Young said. “The University Drive Streetscape is just one example of that relationship.”

The exact location of Oakland University confusing to some and has been contested by previous representatives of the City of Auburn Hills.

While the university has a mailing address of Rochester, the majority of the campus lies in Auburn Hills, with a small portion located in Rochester Hills.

When Matilda Dodge Wilson first donated the land for the university to be built, Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills did not exist. Only the City of Rochester existed. The mailing address has stayed that way ever since.

Young noted the school’s website and official mailing address show the university is located in Auburn Hills.

Tanghe has been involved with the project and couldn’t be more thrilled with the relationship the city has with Oakland University.

Tanghe is aware of the disagreements regarding the university’s exact home, but he does not let that get in the way of the successful relationship the city and school have.

“While there is some sensitivity to the ‘OU in Rochester,’ we don’t let that get in the way of how proud we are to have OU in our community and it certainly does not stand in the way of the relationship between AH and OU or the successes we are able to achieve when we work together,” Tanghe said.

Tanghe and Auburn Hills City Manager Peter Auger are both very familiar with Oakland University.

“The City Manager and myself hold degrees from OU,” Tanghe said. “We consider ourselves very fortunate to be managing the community in which our alma mater resides.”

Oakland University currently is in partnership with Auburn Hills, the city’s Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA), the Avondale School District, and several other surrounding colleges and schools in The University Center.

Located in downtown Auburn Hills between North and South Squirrel Road, the University Center has two classrooms and a lounge area for students to meet up and study.

Oakland is also in the same partnership with The DEN, a student lounge located in Auburn Hills.