Welcome veterans to your campus instead of thanking them for their service.
Thanking a veteran for their service has become an increasingly common tradition. It is believed to be a sign of respect that communicates gratitude for all that the individual has had to sacrifice during their time in the military. However, it should be noted, that not all veterans receive this gesture with the understanding of it being grounded in warm intentions. Some veterans may perceive the act as being in-genuine, while others may not appreciate the old memories and emotions that are stirred up (not all veterans leave the service with a positive experience). Therefore it is recommended that you welcome veterans to your campus, get to know a little bit about them, and then thank them for their service, once a relationship has been established and only if it seems appropriate. Doing so should help reduce the chances that your gesture is taken offensively, or in a negative perception.
Model of Practice
The following example comes from Cascadia Community College. This piece is from a quick list of campus resources that all student veterans receive once they enroll at the college.
From Timm Lovitt's Promising Best Practices: Veteran-Supportive Institutions of Higher Education in King County (Veterans Training Support Center, 2013). See the full report: download pdf, 99 pages
Project provided by King County Veterans and Human Services Levy
and the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.