Share the Knowledge Tour to visit GVSU

By Ellie Phillips | 7/16/13 4:35pm

Around the world biker Max Peer will be coming to Grand Valley State University to share the story of his cross country bike and canoe trip to promote free educational resources through software as part of the Share the Knowledge Tour.

“It is our mission to improve user experience and create more equal access to education – nothing less,” said Rikke Friis Dam, co-founder of the Interaction Design Foundation, a co-sponsor of the tour. “We need a more sustainable world and that is achievable through education. Education is the single most powerful way to lift people out of poverty and change lives.”

Peer’s ongoing four-year, 35,000 mile bike and canoe trip started from Orlando, Fla. in May. The North American leg of the tour will come to an end in November at Palo Alto, Calif., but the tour itself will continue with stops in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

“Share the Knowledge Tour is all about sharing the knowledge on how to build and design attractive and productive software and products,” Dam said. “At each stop Max also offers students and professors a membership to IDF’s Professional Association, which enables students and designers to receive mentoring and share their resumes among members of the IDF community enhancing their career opportunities.”

IDF is collaborating with SAP (Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung, which is German for System Analysis and Program Development) and SAP University Alliances to sponsor the tour. SAP is also committed to creating equal access to high-quality education and is one of the world’s leading software companies. Headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, SAP has locations in more than 130 countries worldwide.

“They provide their software to universities around the world at no cost via the SAP University Alliances program,” said Simha Magal, a professor in the GVSU management department. “The Seidman ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) program uses this software to provide a cross-functional, business-process focused curriculum to students. These students are in high demand – demand exceeds supply.”

Grand Valley is hosting a tour stop mainly because of the university’s notable commitment to sustainability.

“GVSU is recognized around the world for providing its innovative curriculum that uses SAP software,” Magal said. “In fact, over 100,000 students in more than 35 countries use the teaching materials that are created at Grand Valley.”

In addition to being an accomplished long-distance biker, Peer is fluent in German, English and speaks some Spanish. He also works as a recording studio designer and has 15 years of experience as a sound engineer.

Over his seven-year biking career he has supported various causes including the clearing of landmines from arable land so that local farmers can grow crops, bringing toys and educational materials to needy children in Southeast Asia, raising awareness for the benefits of music and outreach work promoting materials on the Holocaust.

Peer’s visit will take place at 2 p.m. July 22 at the DeVos Center on Grand Valley’s downtown Pew campus. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information on the tour, or to follow Peer’s journey across the continent, and eventually the globe, visit

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