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.