Pontiac’s fun opportunities to be highlighted at Grizz Night

Amy Swanson

An evening of food, activities and more is planned for Grizz Night on April 13 from 6 to 10 p.m.

It will be held in downtown Pontiac along Saginaw Street. People will receive a map that lists all of the participating businesses, as well as activities and times.

There won’t be a shortage of things to do.

Activities include a social media scavenger hunt by OU’s Social Media Club that will highlight interesting things in the downtown area.

There will also be a student art show displaying work in various businesses. The arts will continue at the Pontiac’s Little Art Theatre, where people can check out the Pontiac Arts Commission, Art Experience, Canvas Pontiac and Pontiac Creative Arts Center.

Attendees can then tour DASI Solutions’ in-house printing studio, which will showcase additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is also known as 3-D printing and allows engineers to make tools previously considered too complex to make economically, according to DASI Solutions. They will also show other technology related to design analysis and virtual testing. This will feature a discussion led by the owner, David Darbyshire, who will talk about the best practices to better connect with mechanical engineering students.

In addition, Native Tattoo will offer airbrush tattoos in its studio.

If interested in the history of Pontiac, people can stop by Main Street Pawn Shop to explore the store and see a free program running every half an hour.

As for food, Buckner’s Deli will have free movies and s’mores, Menagerie will have discounted tacos for students with their OU ID, and Alley Cat will have a free game night and refreshments.

Local restaurants and businesses will also stay open later for attendees to enjoy.

Grizz Night is a pilot program that was developed by Gabriela Sullen and Branden Dyer, two AmeriCorps VISTA members who are serving at OU this year. They have been planning it since January.

This is following OU’s Pontiac Initiative, which President Hynd began in 2014.

“In the fall of 2014, approximately 150 representatives from Oakland University and the Pontiac community met at the Welcome Missionary Baptist Church to reinvigorate the longstanding connection between the University and city, focusing on establishing a positive, reciprocal relationship to mutually benefit both OU and Pontiac,” according to the Pontiac Initiative One Year Anniversary Book.

The goal is to spur economic activity downtown to support the city’s growth and revitalization. 

“As we move forward with President Hynd’s vision for a metropolitan university, as well as the vision of Mayor Waterman for economic development in Pontiac, this event provides that opportunity,” Sullen said.

Organizers want to show people the fun activities of Pontiac with its culture, local history and food.

“This event will help to bridge the gap between students of OU and the city of Pontiac as they learn and explore the opportunities that Pontiac has to offer,” Sullen said.

Sullen said that while engaging with their community, it’ll be great for students to network with different businesses.

OU hopes to make this an annual event, and Grizz Night will also be a part of Welcome Week 2016.

While Bear Buses won’t be transporting students, organizers are working with local churches to see if they will provide busing for the evening.