People of Pitt-Greensburg: Resident Director of Housing and Residence Life Kyle Harper
by Sophia Gatti
Resident Director of Housing and Residence Life Kyle Harper: UPG Alum, Author, Critter Friend, and Wrestling Aficionado
Alumnus Kyle Harper graduated from Pitt-Greensburg in the spring of 2022 with a dual major in Communication and Creative & Professional Writing. He is now a resident director with the Office of Housing and Residence Life here on campus, and oversees staff in both Robertshaw and Westmoreland Hall.
What does Kyle love about Pitt-Greensburg?
“I think my favorite part of UPG is just the community as a whole. The faculty and staff here are so supportive and helpful (both during my undergrad and currently today). I love being able to interact with students and help them find their way here. It’s been a very beneficial part of my job to see people who are my friends and peers grow into successful roles on campus and begin their journey for life after college.”
What did he do before he joined the Pitt-Greensburg staff?
“Critter Country Animal Farm was one of the most interesting work environments that I have been a part of. I worked there for about six years and it was an adventure. I never thought my 16-year-old self would be working with big cats, but I did. The zoo is made up of about 85% rescued animals ranging from everyday farm animals to more exotic creatures like monkeys and tigers. The owners both have a deep compassion for sheltering and nursing animals. Many of the animals on-site have been previously mistreated or neglected by former owners, and Critter Country does everything they can to make a home for them. I have a lot of wonderful and exciting stories from my time there. I’ve done everything from raising baby tigers and building exhibits to managing our gift shop. It was fun, and I do miss it. The Critter Country crew will always be like a second family to me.”
Did he say tigers? Like in “Tiger King”?
“I can’t really give myself the credit for saving tigers because that was more on the part of the owners of Critter Country than myself. But yes, some of the tigers at Critter Country do have some ties to names related to the ‘Tiger King.’ The story that I was told was that the aforementioned owner had these two tigers out of season, and that he knew he would no longer make money on them. So he decided to kill them. The owners of Critter Country saved these tigers and purchased them for the price that would have been offered for their skins. They are still alive and well today.”
That sounds like it would make great material for a book.
“Currently, I have two books that I published. The first is a children’s book called ‘The Adventures of Waffle Man and Butter Boy.’ Basically, Waffle Man and Butter Boy are crime-fighting breakfast foods who work together to stop all the evil food supervillains. Classic. I started writing this in middle school and I ended up getting it published in 2012. My second book is called ‘The Zoo in the Backyard.’ I published this book last spring for my senior Capstone project. This book is based on some pivotal moments during my time at Critter Country.”
Fun fact: Kyle’s love for professional wrestling (humans, not tigers) is a family passion.
“Wrestling is a huge part of my life. When I was younger, my dad wrestled in the local independent circuit under the name QB Blitzz. I never really got to see him wrestle when he was wrestling regularly. Nonetheless, he introduced me to WWE and it was a weekly occurrence that my family and I would tune into RAW on Monday nights. My dad took me to a few indy shows and got me introduced to some of his buddies. In high school, my dad helped me plan a benefit show at school called Cougar Mountain Mayhem. Once I got to college, I found a few friends who were also into wrestling. We began going to indy shows, and then decided as a collective that we wanted to try this ourselves. Thus, Pitt Fight was born. Wrestling means a lot to me. It has been a great way to connect with friends. Some of the best friends I have made on this campus I met through Pitt Fight, and I could not be more thankful than that. Wrestling has always allowed me to express myself through a creative outlet, and I hope to improve that as we continue to regrow Pitt Fight.”
I loved reading about Kyle’s experiences and passions! It’s incredible to see how his diverse experiences have shaped him into who he is today. I’m curious, what inspired him to write “The Adventures of Waffle Man and Butter Boy”?