Japanese students attending New Brunswick universities are devoting time between classes to help with the relief efforts back home.

A vigil was held at St. Thomas University in Fredericton on Tuesday and a unique fundraising campaign is underway at Mount Allison University in Sackville.

Some Mount Allison University students have been folding thousands of origami swans as a symbol of hope.

Shingo Yanagida, a second-year student, has learned his family is safe but has started the fundraising campaign for those who haven't been as lucky:

"The situation in Japan is disastrous right now," Yanagida said.

"So many people are dying right now so I wish I could do something for my own country."

Meanwhile, another fundraising campaign is underway at St. Thomas University. 

Michelle Twomey, a member of Students for Relief, has set up donation jars on campus and a silent auction is planned for next week.

"Even if we can only give, you know, a quarter, we know that it's going to help," Twomey said.

Twomey said the money raised will go to the Red Cross.

Japan is recovering from the massive earthquake that hit last week.

Up to 450,000 people are staying in temporary shelters, often sleeping on the floors of school gymnasiums.

The official death toll hit 3,676 on Wednesday, but it is expected to climb above 10,000 as nearly 8,000 people are missing.