Pup Love

Leadership class inspired Hayden Spitz ’18 to channel passion into PupRun

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
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Hayden Spitz stands on UNH Paul College stairway overlooking the Great Hall

Taking Dave Zamansky’s Leadership in Practice course during the 2018 spring semester gave Hayden Spitz ’18 the perfect excuse to begin executing one of his ideas: the inaugural UNH 5K PupRun, a 5K community run/walk for people and dogs, all to benefit the New Hampshire SPCA.

Zamansky’s class requires participants to create, plan and execute a leadership project with a community service component. For Spitz, a business administration (marketing) and entrepreneurial studies major, the idea for the PupRun had been percolating in his mind for a while, and Zamansky’s class inspired him to try it out.

“I always wanted to do something big at UNH that I could call my own,” he says. “I’ve been working with dogs and events for the last few years and really found that that’s what I loved.”

Spitz set a goal to raise $1,000 for the New Hampshire SPCA during the April 29 race. He called on UNH connections and his professional network to recruit sponsors, including Kurgo, Purina, the UNH Animal Welfare Alliance and Alpha Phi Omega, as well as the UNH alumni-affiliated companies Wagz, Coco Chew and Saxbys.

“I’m a very optimistic person, a person who knows that things are going to happen that you can’t control, so you push through and make it happen anyway.”

The morning of the 5K, just as registration for the event began, a steady rain started to fall, soaking tables full of registration documents and race bibs.

“The rain was definitely a bummer,” says Spitz. “I’m a very optimistic person, a person who knows that things are going to happen that you can’t control, so you push through and make it happen anyway.”

His enthusiasm paid off — the team of volunteers pulled together, and in the end, 200 people registered for the event, some who just showed up to pay the registration fee to support the SPCA, and about 80 individuals who stayed and ran or walked the race in the rain, many with their dogs, soaked but smiling. The event raised $1,600 for the New Hampshire SPCA.

As a founding member of the UNH Entrepreneurship Club, Spitz says it was exciting to put his entrepreneurial spirit into the event.

“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t always know what I wanted to do with it until I started working with events,” he says. “When you think about it, every event like this is an entrepreneurial process. You’re starting with nothing — you have no money, you just have this idea, and you go and build it and find the resources to make it happen.”

Although Spitz has graduated and won’t be around to run the event in the future, he reports that Alpha Phi Omega is interested in taking over the PupRun to make it an annual event. So stay tuned for news about the next PupRun.

Whittney Gould | Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics | whittney.gould@unh.edu | 603-862-1704