MSU Sponsors Inappropriate, Sexualized HATCH Event

On the weekend of Jan. 20-22, MSU both sponsored and played host to HATCH, an undefinable “community, movement and series of experiences” that hopes to “hatch a better world.” I say undefinable, because anyone involved with HATCH, when questioned, will provide cryptic replies like, ”just trust the process.” The only tangible promise HATCH can give, as stated on its website, is, “You will be CHANGED.” What should have been an insightful weekend of design thinking, turned into an inappropriate, unprofessional experience. MSU should not sponsor HATCH, nor condone the behavior of the HATCH leadership.

I was somewhat dubious of HATCH beginning the first night. The HATCH hosts asked attendees for their relationship status, which felt inappropriate and unnecessary. It set the tone for a weirdly sexualized night. I spoke with another participant who left the “experience” during the first night because she was so uncomfortable.

By the second night, the “leadership” had taken the sensuality to an inappropriate level. Multiple Hatchers spoke about spooning each other and sharing hotel rooms, all while on stage giving a presentation. This was not acceptable behavior for professional presenters, especially when sponsored by MSU. I observed the leadership closely, and they were frequently touching each other, kissing each others’ foreheads and whispering to one another. I do not consider myself overly sensitive to sexuality, but I felt like the staff of HATCH were acting inappropriately for a university sponsored event. I was ashamed of my fellow students and our professors who laughed along with what was happening on stage, and I was ashamed of MSU for sponsoring such a group.

At the beginning of the event, HATCH gave a rule: Friend DA; we were asked not to post compromising social media posts of the Hatchers due to their “high profile” careers. I realized why that rule was in place later on when Hatchers were acting inebriated and speaking of hotel rooms and of sexual behavior all while on stage. While I cannot confirm all the Hatchers were drinking, although many seemed intoxicated, I do know that the bar did not card students purchasing alcohol, and that underage students were consuming alcohol. The Hatchers were acting so unprofessionally, that I believed it was not worth my time, nor did it align with my moral compass, to attend HATCH the next day, giving them my own professional time and attitude. I walked out in the middle of the second night. I do believe that HATCH’s goal is noble, and that perhaps it even works, so it’s a shame that the people running the show got in the way of their own mission.

The MSU departments of architecture, engineering and business all paid for the event, and according to HATCH’s website, MSU is a gold sponsor of the company.

Overall, I left the event feeling disgusted and distressed by what I had witnessed over the weekend. MSU should cut ties with the inappropriate HATCH community. I suppose that in the end, HATCH did accomplish its goal, however; I was changed.

  • Yarrow Kraner

    I was forwarded the article from a professor who stated “My experience was quite different than the one described here.” When I clicked on the article, I was shocked. Several emotions come to mind. Sadness, that anyone had this experience at all being at the top of the list. I would be remiss in not acknowledging that this is how someone felt, and not dismissing it. Our organization is 13 yrs of volunteers pulling together to make magic happen with the intent and belief that together we can make a difference to HATCH a better world. For the HATCHedu event, there were hundreds of volunteer hours, and mentors that flew in from London, Canada, New York, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, and more to come offer guidance, insights, and experience. I am an MSU alumni, and we have been working very hard to provide value to this institution. There were also several REAL projects born during the 2.5 days of HATCHedu, addressing such issues as student homelessness, sustainability, food security, and education. It breaks my heart that all of that time, passion, and intention could be dismissed by one article that is carelessly inaccurate. As the founder of HATCH, I would be understandably biased. But this is not just my opinion. This was the lone piece of negative feedback I have heard about the HATCHedu experience. Here is feedback sent to us in the days following the event:
    – Yarrow Kraner, HATCH Founder, MSU Alumni

    I went to HATCHedu with limited knowledge of what it was. But now I can assuredly say that it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have gained a newfound con dence in my creativity and my ability to work with others to solve problems. Through the design sprint, I’ve realized what can be achieved by simply jumping into the process. The students, educators, and hatchers I met this weekend are some of the most badass, innovative, and inspirational people I have ever encountered. But perhaps the most important realization I gained from HATCHedu is that I have the capacity to impact change on the world; that I am, in fact, a real life superhero.
    – Kendrick Wilson, student

    HATCH turned out to be one of the most unexpected and unforgettable experiences of my collegiate career. It was amazing to see an idea mature into our nal project as we grew together as a group. I can’t wait to see where the ideas and skills Hatch as given me take me in my future.
    – Jaden Maharg, student

    HATCHedu was not at all what I expected. I had no idea how self-motivated and capable the HATCHers, students, and faculty involved would be. When the weekend began I was bummed to miss a few days of skiing but by the end of the experience I saw what a gift the program was. Not only does it teach students to problem solve and work collaboratively at a high level of expectation, but it also gave me a new sense of motivation for the upcoming semester.
    – Grant Dokken, student

    The organization of the weekend – the speakers, activities, ground rules, etc – created a micro climate of comfort and interdependence upon which the success and learning relied heavily. I was blown away by peoples’ willingness to participate and contribute.
    – Robin Wilder, student

    In a few words I had a great time. I have never endeavored on a mission that was quite that mentally stimulating and I loved the challenges and goals that were presented to each team to figure out.
    – Jordan Cann, student

    The most important aspect of Hatch is not the exercises or the whiteboards or the small groups. It is the belief that the people in the room are sufficient to change the world in a meaningful way. For many students, it is fairly common, especially in the design disciplines, for us to be given a problem and asked how we would solve it. The critical element that Hatch adds to that equation is that, for the rest of our time as students, we are not only given trust and authority to solve the problems we come up with, but also (and most importantly) we are expected to carry those solutions into the world. The fact that some of the greatest minds in their respective professions can put their faith in the critical thinking abilities of myself and my classmates meant the world to me and given me the confidence to look at the world with my eyes open, ask where the problems are, and get out there and solve them myself.
    – Walter Funke, student

    HATCHedu created time and space for creative minds to come together, learn from each other, and work to solve real world problems. The HATCHedu weekend allowed me to get back to the basics of how I like to exist in the problem solving process; a necessary recalibration. HATCHedu lead me down a path to foster my personal creativity and then helped me understand how to effectively utilize that energy. This experience is essential for any future leader. Earn in. Listen. Everyone will surprise you. I now have a network of awake and socially conscious innovators that connect to support a better world.
    – Sara Mo Vanacht , student

    The pure variety of talent and passions at hatch was the most valuable aspect of the event. It was eye opening to hear so many different perspectives to an issue. I realized that there should be no difference in level of creativity and open mindedness with which I approach a de ned “art” project and the research I do in the environmental sciences.
    – Emma Bode, student

    The opportunity to interact and connect with individuals across campus and across the country was valuable and inspiring. I learned the importance to express my ideas and open my ears and hearth to the ideas of others.
    – Katelyn, student

    HATCHedu was incredibly valuable experience for a multitude of reasons, many of which are very dif cult to vocalize. It was a very inspiring and invigorating weekend that both reminded me of many strategies for design and taught me new ones. Seeing so many people of different backgrounds work towards a common goal was amazing – so much more was accomplished than I would have thought possible. HATCHedu taught me to release everything I know about my own limitations and the limitations of the people around me and instead strive with every ber of my being to achieve the things that I may not think of as possible.
    – Saunders Allen, student

    HATCH was valuable for because I got to experience the power of young mind and teamwork. I learned that something can come from nothing in literally a matter of seconds. For example, our team could not narrow in on what problem we were going to tackle; we all felt defeated and frustrated. Then, Suddenly we developed this amazing idea and it snowballed! Now we are in meetings left and right getting our idea ready to launch.
    – Sunnie Vouch, student

    HATCH was a phenomenal experience. It taught how to better deal with group projects and listen to others opinions.
    – Brooke Kervi, student

    Great experience! The event was fast paced, full of energy and had very passionate speakers. Would definitely recommend to others!
    – Damon Sheumaker

    I learned that people are incredible. There’s so much love and passion and innovation out there, and when you take 90 other people out there just as driven as you and put them in one place, the world shakes.
    – Kate Cherry, student

    The HATCHedu workshop was an urgent and inspiring hurricane of efforts, ideology and output. The format inspired an activated, thoughtful and fully engaged collaborative framework; the kind that serves all levels of experience and varied interests well. When you ask people to delve into what they identify as urgent, and back that up with a focussed re drill of presentation strategies and content, you get amazing results. When that process is stewarded by the top leaders and facilitators in their respective industries, you get content that can not only surprise but change the coarse of the world… As flighty as that may sound, I feel every single person, even the well tempered educators and the occasional jaded college student, came out on the other side changed, inspired and ready to make the work done there a reality. My take away was a reaffirmation that people are great, they can all be game changers, and do it with fun, vigor and purpose.
    – Mark Goerner, HATCH mentor, Concept Illustrator, Avatar, Minority Report

    HATCHedu provided a platform for students and educators from across a plethora of disciplines to come together, discuss various issues within our local or global communities, and brainstorm unique avenues to combat the selected issues. From an engineering point-of- view, HATCHedu provided me with invaluable communication and entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, HATCHedu pushed me to analyze issues through various lenses, not just the ones I’m most comfortable with using. My experiences at HATCHedu have strengthened me as an advocate for positive change, and greatly expanded the amount of tools I have to affect that change. Going forward, I will continue to work to approach problems from diverse perspectives so as to implement the best social and technical solutions possible.
    – Jacob Fleming, student

    HATCHedu with its inspiring speakers and thought provoking activities got me motivated to become more involved in the MSU and Bozeman community.
    – Nell Kirchhoff, student

    I had the most engaging, uplifting, gut wrenching weekend. I learned that there are a lot of resources that I had no idea about on campus. I also enjoyed engaging with creative people from all over the world.
    – Sarah Tuma, student

    I believe HATCHedu. is extraordinarily powerful because it brings together student and professors to solve real world problems. For me, I think there are some major issues with our education system, and I think it is in need of serious renovation. This is a huge and issue to attempt to solve, but it was eye-opening to be able to meet professors who not only had similar views as me, but were taking action by changing the way their classroom is run. Meeting these professors has been huge.
    – Connor Mulvaney, student

    The HATCHedu 2017 was amazing. I went in not knowing what to expect and came away more empowered and impassioned that I thought possible. There were so many aspects to this experience that I found valuable and inspiring. It was a nonstop, rich weekend learning new skills, polishing old ones, being inspired to push ourselves, to be authentic and give our best, to adapt and pivot, and so much more – all in the context of a nourishing, trusting, and supportive environment. The HATCH community instilled an ethos to challenge the big problems and have con dence that within ourselves and our network we can manifest positive change – and enjoy the journey of hard work.
    – Michael Fox

    The HATCHedu experience was amazing! Speci cally, the opportunity to connect deeply and build very strong relationships across disciplines in MSU with both exceptional students and faculty was invaluable. Each night, I left even more inspired and ready to push even harder on solving the big problems. The networking both internal with MSU and external with HATCH alum was truly a game changer and these new connections and relationships will be extremely helpful as we all work on social impact and leaving the world a better place. The sincere conversations and discussions I had with the students, faculty, and many of the HATCH alum were extremely valuable and inspiring. The potential to solve big problems through collaboration in this group is substantial. Elke’s talk was extremely inspiring! But all the HATCHers did an amazing job! The underlying theme of music and art from Paul, Philip, Mark, and Steve was so critical and valuable to this experience and the creative process.

    – Trevor Huffmaster, Director, 406 Labs, MSU Blackstone Launchpad

    • Valerie

      Great article Dave! I’m so glad someone spoke up about this event and the unfortunate behavior that took place. I hope that MSU can screen these events better in the future so some of us won’t be in for an uncomfortable shock.