Ryan Rafols, a member of the University of Texas chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, said he was determined to be a DKE in college, leading him to recharter the UT chapter when he came to the university and put hundreds of hours of work into ensuring its success.
“It’s one of the most prestigious top fraternities in the U.S.” Rafols said. “I wanted to create something similar to what I had in the army, really a band of brothers.”
Rafols, a government and Liberal Arts Honors Program junior from Weatherford, rechartered DKE in July of 2013. He said that while it’s been a big investment in time and money, he doesn’t regret his decision to take on the task and is proud of what he’s accomplished.
“You leave a legacy, and that was like the point of it,” Rafols said. “I started with a greater desire for character-building, building leaders, building an organization that created leaders after I left, the kind of men that DKE has always produced, and that was my goal.”
Rafols came to UT after having served in the military for four and a half years, joining right out of high school to help pay for college. He worked largely in missile defense.
Rafols said the UT chapter of DKE has quickly grown since its founding last year and is currently up to about 30 members. He said he was able to quickly make DKE successful by focusing on infrastructure and employing a lot of the recruitment techniques of larger fraternities.
“I’m very big on infrastructure,” Rafols said. “Even if we were not successful in everything, and we don’t have the members to do everything perfectly, but just getting into the practice of doing them, having a summer rush, having rush events in every city. We sent out letters.”
Rafols also serves on the Student Government City Relations Task Force and on the University Area Partners neighborhood association, which represents residential, business, nonprofit and student interests in the UT area. He said that he enjoys politics and would would like to attend law school, go into corporate law and then pursue politics at a higher level.
Rafols said during his time as a college student, he’s already gotten some important hands-on political experience, getting to help draw the boundaries for Austin City Council District 9, the student-centric city council district, and work on proposed state legislation related to college and veterans.