veteran bicycle globetrotter Max Peer pedaled onto the University of Notre Dame
campus on Thursday, July 25, he was met by a number of “Welcome Max” placards
hoisted by enthusiastic students eager to hear more about his upcoming 35,000
mile bicycle/canoe trip that will take him around the world. Aided by technological advancements to
optimize the safety and comfort of his projected four-year long humanitarian global trek, Peer, sponsored by
the German software giant SAP, will be bringing the message of his “Share the
Knowledge” tour to approximately 1,060 college campuses and SAP offices throughout
“The most difficult part of this
journey is the planning that’s going into it that will involve following a tighter
schedule than I’ve never had to follow before,” said Peer, an Austrian who in
the past 15 years has parlayed his self-proclaimed passion for the outdoors
into publicizing nonprofit organizations that share his “pay it forward” focus.
His contribution to humanitarian causes has included the removal of land mines
in a number of Asian countries, the distribution of toys and educational materials
to needy school children, and the promotion of holocaust memorials. Peer also
promotes the benefits of music in his capacity as a live sound engineer and
recording studio designer – his normal “day job” when he isn’t off promoting
free education and other non-profit charitable causes. His normal schedule includes six continuous
months per year on the road.
Peer also has been allied over the past
several years with the Denmark-based Interaction Design Foundation. The nonprofit
IDF, in partnership with SAP since March 2013, is an online publisher that for
the past 10 years has been distributing free textbook and videos, designed by
leading technology designers, to universities and tech companies around the
"Our message is that education is
the single most powerful way to lift people out of poverty and change lives,”
said Peer, who said he looks forward to sharing that vision at every stop along
the way as he engages with organized groups of university officials and students
and just curious passers-by.
On a practical note, Peer said that
as he’ll be riding solo on his global tour, without a support team or transport
vehicles shadowing him, “the most important thing is to have clean water.”
Consequently, he carries with him two
gallons of water for both drinking and washing, supplemented by a
water-filtration system on his converted tandem-frame touring bicycle. He also
has a multi-layer solar panel to recharge his GPS and cell phone during all
sorts of weather conditions and a portable 6.5-foot-long canoe to take him, his
bike and supplies across territory where roads do not go.
Ann Rosenberg, the head of Global
SAP University Alliances who has been following Peer’s U.S. tour since it kicked
off in Orlando, Fla., earlier this year, outlined SAP’s new University
Alliances Program for both students and faculty at the Stayer Center for
Executive Education at Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.
Also on hand to meet him at the
Stayer Center was Roger Huang, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College, and Andrew O’Donnell, vice president of the University’s 21-member competitive
“We used to be very guarded with our
technology, but all that has changed in recent years,” said Rosenberg, who
discussed SAP’s current commitment to providing free access to education “no
matter where you live or what you are doing.”
Toward that end, Rosenberg said SAP
will donate licenses to more than 1,300 University Alliances member
institutions and fully outfit their professors with free software and
curriculum to provide students with hands-on access to SAP applications and
technology in order to drive innovation.
“We want to promote universities all
over the world as incubators, where knowledge is free and students will have
‘playgrounds’ at their disposal to nurture their imagination. That’s the way of
tomorrow. We have to think big and we have to think globally,” said Rosenberg,
adding, for example, that SAP is currently looking for 500 sales associates
among recent college graduates.
“The average age of our current
sales force is 44,” she said.
also want to add 100 students onto our development team, because we need the
ideas your generation has to build on for the future.”