Nine times around the world for a better access to education

IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) provides 90 bicycles to the organization World

  • As part of a university-wide fitness challenge, IU employees collectively covered 355,380 kilometers in March, circling the world the equivalent of nine times.
  • For each completed circumnavigation of the globe, IU donates ten bicycles that provide greater mobility for people in developing countries.
  • The campaign focuses on collective commitment and strengthening the sense of community among colleagues.

Erfurt, 6. April 2022. In March 2022, the employees of IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) joined forces to circle the earth nine times. As part of the fitness challenge "I&U Around the World", IU employees from all locations worldwide collected kilometers during sporting activities, tracked them in an app and together covered 355,380 kilometers for a good cause: For each circumnavigation of the globe, Germany's largest university donates ten bicycles to the organization World Bicycle Relief (WBR) - in total, IU thus provides 90 bicycles.

WBR is an international aid organization in development cooperation that provides people in rural developing countries with bicycles to enable greater mobility and therefore greater independence. There is often only a rudimentary or no transport infrastructure in rural developing regions. As a reliable and cost-effective means of transport a bicycle is a suitable way for local people to shorten what are often very long journeys to school, work and shopping.

In line with the IU vision "Everybody can access education to grow", the provision of bicycles enables better access to education, work and health and therefore a perspective of self-reliance, financial independence and greater security.

"We had thought five circumnavigations of the world was realistic. The fact that we even made it around the world nine times in the end, with our combined efforts, makes us extremely happy. It shows: Together we can achieve great things even with small steps. Through our commitment, we are supporting the organization World Bicylce Relief with a total of 90 bicycles that are intended to give people in developing countries greater mobility," explains Tim Kaltenborn Director People Organization & Culture at IU International University of Applied Sciences.

“According to the motto "for each other, with each other," we wanted to motivate as many employees as possible to participate. For this reason, the fitness challenge was designed so that any form of exercise counted - such as commuting to work by bike, an extensive walk in the woods, lanes in the swimming pool or kilometers on the treadmill," Kaltenborn continues.

With the help of a fitness app, the various activities were recorded and converted into kilometers. Nearly 100 teams from all IU locations and departments around the world came together to become active and motivate each other to do their best. The focus of the event was on joint commitment for a good cause. After months of working at home due to the pandemic, the challenge strengthened the feeling of team spirit among the colleagues, reinforced the joy of exercise and sport, and at the same time focused on their importance for mental health.


With over 85,000 students, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) is the largest university in Germany. The private, state-recognised educational institution brings together more than 200 Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes under its roof, which are offered in German or English. Students can choose between on-campus study, dual study, distance learning and flexible combination models and thus shape their studies in a self-determined way. In addition, IU facilitates continuing education and promotes the idea of lifelong learning. The university's goal is to make education possible for as many people as possible. IU began operations in 2000 and is now represented in 28 German cities. It cooperates with over 10,000 companies and actively supports them in employee development. Its partners include Motel One, VW Financial Services and Deutsche Bahn. Further information at: www.iu.de/en