Ryan Kough

You are the founder of ReInvision Huntingdon.  Why did you choose to start this type of organization? 

I started the organization with the goal that we could connect and combine initiatives in Huntingdon. There seems to be so much happening but separately. I see the leaders in many fields and hope to combine them together to make more happen.

What do you bring to the organization?

With a background in social design, I see each community member and organization as a “stakeholder” to our community revitalization initiatives. Each person in the community is part of the Community Design Ecosystem. Being able to identify roles and join efforts is a key skill that I thoroughly enjoy!

What is your profession and why did you choose this profession?

I am a Social Designer and Assistant Professor of Integrated Media Arts at Juniata College. In my professional work, I believe design is a tool for social activism. I work with text, images, and video and translate them into understandable communication campaigns for local clients. In my teaching role, I hope to educate the next generation of designers on ways their imagination can make a difference in the world. Rather than asking students to design a logo for a made-up company, I implement community design projects in my classroom. This allows students to work with community clients and allows them to see their work making a local impact.

What is your favorite volunteering experience? How did/does this experience change you?

I have many, but one that is important to me was participating in the Susan G Komen 3-Day walk. In August of 2009, I participated in the 3 Day walk in Chicago. Walkers had to raise $2,300 individually to be accepted into the event and then walked 60 miles in 3 days in honor of the many women who have been taken too early by breast cancer. I lost my grandmother to breast cancer, so this was a life-changing event walking side by side with survivors and widows of those who have gone too soon.

Why do you choose to live/work in Huntingdon?

I grew up in Huntingdon and left in 2001 for college. While living away, I often returned to the area for summer breaks and holiday visits. After 12 years away, I had gained hands-on experience living through midtown Manhattan stress, southern hurricane weather in Savannah, midwest Indiana tornadoes, and finally, Michigan lake effect snowy winters. I missed the seasons and the mild weather in central PA year-round. I also genuinely missed the small-town lifestyle where everyone knows your name. I love that Huntingdon has so much to offer to entrepreneurs and young creatives.

As an organization, if we were to choose ONE project to work on for the year, what do you wish it would it be?

Well, I have two projects, but I can’t say NO to a good idea! A series of publicly visible murals with Adopt-A-Spot gardens nearby. I love the idea of public art but also beautified landscaping to set the ground apart.

How would you like to positively impact our community? What do you want to see happen here? What is your ideal Huntingdon?

My ideal Huntingdon is a place where everyone feels free to contribute without judgment or questioning. A Huntingdon where we all feel empowered to do good, no matter how large or small. Where we are supported through monetary donations and volunteers to make our ideas happen. That is my ideal Huntingdon!