Here’s a video of students doing jazz hands at NUS conference, because clapping is triggering

‘Jazz hands are used throughout NUS in place of clapping which can cause disturbance and create anxiety’


“I’m happy to declare that your next national President is, Shakira” some bloke on the NUS conference stage mumbled into his lectern. Some members of the crowd couldn’t control themselves, bursting into muted ovation. Others, respectfully, stuck to jazz hand applause.

Now part of NUS lore, jazz handing (probs not a word) featured across the whole of this year’s NUS conference. The new form of commendation was established in 2015, by this tweet, because regular clapping was triggering some speakers’ anxiety.

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A spokesperson from the NUS further elaborated: “The request was made by some delegates attending the conference. We strive to make NUS events accessible and enjoyable for all, so each request is considered.”

Yasmin Gasimova, a student at the University of Liverpool and a delegate at this year’s conference, told The Tab: “NUS wonderfully has lots of people with disabilities attend their conferences, so it makes sense for conferences to be accessible. My view is that this practice is awesome and I’m glad that the NUS is taking accessibility seriously.”

In an interview with Newsbeat LSE SU’s general secretary said: “Jazz hands are used throughout NUS in place of clapping as a way to show appreciation of someone’s point without interrupting or causing disturbance, as it can create anxiety.

“I’m relatively new to this and it did feel odd at first, but once you’ve used jazz hands a couple of times it becomes a genuinely nice way to show solidarity with a point and it does add to creating a more inclusive atmosphere.”

After we published this piece the NUS got in touch and further clarified: “The hand gesture used in the video is the sign used in the British Sign Language vocabulary for applause. It means more people and those with disabilities and / or sensory conditions can participate in our conference.

 “We don’t actively stop our members from clapping, they choose to be respectful and enable other people to get involved.”