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OU student to serve on Rochester DDA board

Thursday, August 7, 2008
OU student to serve on Rochester DDA board
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Master of Public Administration student Sonya Bellafant (CAS ’93) is getting a unique opportunity to garner real-world experience as a student liaison on the Rochester Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Board.

After earning a law degree from Michigan State University College of Law, Bellafant worked for Legal Aid of Western Michigan and became interested in the public sector. “At some point I would like to work in public administration or politics,” she said. “The public service aspect gives me the full potential to give back to the community.”

As a second-generation Oakland University student, Bellafant has watched how OU and Rochester have grown and transformed, and she jumped at the chance to take part on the Rochester DDA board.

“The DDA position gives me the opportunity to be more active in the community that gave me a start,” said Bellafant. “There’s also the opportunity to create more synergy between businesses and the student body at Oakland.”

As the board liaison, she will be responsible for providing updates to the board, as well as providing a student perspective. The mission of the Rochester DDA is to maximize the economic development potential of downtown Rochester for the benefit of the community, by maintaining an ongoing, comprehensive downtown management program with broad-based community involvement and preserving downtown's overall unique historical character.

“Sonya will be a great resource to provide a new perspective on what the DDA is working on and how we can better serve that market,” said Kristi Trevarrow, director, Rochester Downtown Development Authority.

“Sonya’s new role with the DDA Board is a perfect example of the kind of positive outcomes we hope to achieve for students through our partnership with Rochester,” said OU President Gary Russi. “This is a great opportunity and I appreciate the board’s willingness to put the liaison role in place.”

Bellafant began the master’s program last September, and plans to complete it in 2010.

Oakland University and the City of Rochester partner on a variety of reciprocal business and academic ventures as part of a formal partnership signed in 2003.